Monthly Archives: September 2006

Bistro Moderne [Closed]


We wanted to try this popular and well-rated restaurant, located in the Hotel Derek, again as our first experience, about a year ago, was not a good one.  We couldn’t fault the beautiful room or service we received, but the food just hadn’t worked for us.  And we really like French food, so that was a disappointment.

Fortunately, Bistro Moderne redeemed itself on our recent visit.  Both appetizers we tried were very good –a sushi style tuna and salmon tartar and an off-the-menu crab cake special.  For the price, the tartar was a great value; four generous rolls each of very fresh tuna and salmon, wrapped in seaweed, and served with a tasty dipping sauce.  The accompanying toasts (perhaps a little stale) were spread with wasabi flavored butter which was an interesting touch.  The crab cake, although slightly too heavy on the fillers (we are very picky about crab cakes), was nicely flavored and served over a crunchy slaw.  The very spicy sauce worked well as long as you used it sparingly.

We went for poultry on this visit — duck breast and stuffed quail.  The duck was appropriately moist but with a crispy skin, served with a clever side of a fried wanton wrapper stuffed with shredded duck leg.  Although one of us thought the spinach flan looked like something from Fear Factor, the other (a big spinach fan) ate it up with no problem.  The stuffed, partially deboned quail, an off the menu special, was beautifully prepared.  The chicken sausage stuffing was great, adding that needed spice to an otherwise simple preparation.  The accompanying vegetable risotto was heavy on the cream and cheese, resulting in a rich but very flavorful dish.

This restaurant has a lovely ambiance — contemporary, but warm, and our service was very good.  Although we put it in the Casual Chic category, there were plenty of folks more dressed up than jeans.  This  easily could be a fancy date night destination (particularly given the available banquette seating).  The scene in the bar immediately adjacent to the restaurant was quite lively.  Also, check out lavatory row, with the individual stall bathrooms.

2525 West Loop South

Kahn’s Deli

This Village deli is our favorite in town.  It’s been around for years, and the owner (son of the founder) is almost always there behind the tall counter, making sandwiches and doling out the occasional smart aleck comment.   It may not be as fancy or have as comfortable a seating (in fact, the seating is quite limited) as Kenny & Ziggy’s or Katz’s, but the food is great, and the ambiance works for us.

The focus is on sandwiches.  If you want matzo ball soup or blintzes, go elsewhere.  We are pastrami fans and Kahn’s pastrami is wonderful — not as lean as some places, but that’s why it’s so tasty.  Go for the classic — hot pastrami on rye with swiss — yum!  Also, try one of  Kahn’s specialties, the Reuben, but with pastrami instead of corned beef.  Don’t bother with the Alpine Rueben, which substitutes turkey for the corned beef; although we know it’s a favorite with the health conscious who still crave deli food, it didn’t work for us.

This place does not take credit cards.  And don’t assume they’ll be as understanding with everyone as one scene we witnessed in which a young woman burst into tears when they wouldn’t take her credit card. The situation was so dire that the staff offered to give her the sandwich for free. (That’s the way these folks are.)  Fortunately, her mom arrived with some cash.

2429 Rice Boulevard