Tuesday, February 28, 2006

February MetroCeliac Supper Club - Bistro 110

Happy February, the month of love,

The month of love, the language of love, of course, a french bistro! Time to break all resolutions, or at least any that include giving up creme brulee. Since French is the language of love, in this, the month of Valentine's Day, we went French, to Bistro 110. It is described on Metromix as..."Part of the Levy Restaurant Group, Bistro 110 is often recommended to out-of-towners by Chicago concierges, but it's not a tourist trap. The menu features French-influenced cuisine. Velvet hats join loud artwork and a news board as well as wall hangings in the informal dining room. The restaurant overlooks the park adjacent to the city's historic Water Tower".

We wanted a french bistro and had heard good things about the food and quaint atmosphere of Bistro 110. I was a bit nervous as this is a restaurant owned by the Levy Group, a larger company with nothing to really gain by accommodating a small group with dietary restrictions. While it is nice to have a great relationship with smaller communities, it is not completely necessary to go out of one's way when business is constantly flowing from the tourism trade on the Mag Mile. Nicole Wexner is the party coordinator at Bistro and was very enthusiastic about hosting our event.

Well, I got the menu and was not really all that thrilled. Two of the dishes were exactly the same descriptions, but with two different kinds of fish. I have not really been in this position before, so I was unsure how to address that without sounding ungrateful. I sent Nicole an email and prepared for the worst. We then had some issues with me signing a contract committing me to a certain number of guests and a financial commitment. I addressed both of these issues with Nicole. To my surprise, she and the chef immediately and without discussion whipped up a new menu for me, allowed me to add Nicole to the evite so she could see the count herself, thereby extricating me from the contractual obligation...and the problems were easily solved. Whew. A very easy and pleasant resolution.

On to the evening. Every member who responded showed up, thankfully. There were new people as well as some favorite regulars and some non-celiacs, some couples and overall a fantastic, fun, loud, entertaining group of MetroCeliacs!

Once we were seated in the side dining room, the bright but muted colors and the lighting made our experience exciting and the energy in the room was palpable. The food was even more delicious than it was described in our menu. The presentation was artistic but simple and colorful, similar to the feel of the restaurant. Everyone raved about the food and its presentation. And can we talk about the creme brulee. It was so rich and creamy that even a diehard fan like myself could not finish it off without help.

Our waiter was probably the best waiter we have had to date. He took pictures for us, kept everyone's orders straight and even gave us all separate bills. The timing of the meals and the speed with which he honored everyone's requests made everything seem effortless. Only after I left did I realize just how amazing he was. I never asked for anything twice; I never asked for a refill of my drink; my dessert came with a spoon; and he anticipated everything else that is normally requested throughout the course of a meal.

Kudos to the fine staff and chef at Bistro 110. They gave us a delicious meal and a pleasurable experience overall.

Here is the menu, remember I mentioned that it was more delicious after you see the presentation and taste it for yourself:

First Course Selection
Bistro Salad - Organic mesclun greens tossed with a sherry vinaigrette
Carrot and Ginger Soup

Roasted chicken - served with roasted knob onion, fennel, asparagus, tomato, zucchini, lemon wedges
Tilapia - Served with creme fraiche mashed potatoes and mushrooms.
Wood Oven Roasted Pork - Pork porterhouse on crème fraiche mashed potatoes, broccolini and Armagnac prune sauce

La Fameuse Creme Brulee du Bistro 110
Glaces ou Sorbets-Ice Cream or Fresh Fruit Sorbet

Freshly brewed Coffee, Tea, Fountain Sodas and Bottled Water

With such a great turnout and after having such a great time, I am really excited about the whole Supper Club experience and look forward to each and every event we are planning for this year.

Thanks Nicole and the generous and competent staff at Bistro 110. If you are out shopping or looking for a nice downtown restaurant with a cozy and warm atmosphere, good food and staff that cannot be outdone anywhere, stop by Bistro, you will be happy you did!

Au Revoir!
Jenny and Tanya

1 comment:

Matthew Read said...

The Weblog looks great! Good idea.

Hopefully my dream of being a famous hand model will take off after people see my work from Bistro 110 (see picture of rasberry sorbet plus hand with spoon).