312 Chicago

May 13 2005 - 11:10 AM

Eating before a show downtown is kind of a mess. If you don’t plan a week in advance, according to 312, you won’t get a table on any given Wednesday. Considering it’s technically a hotel restaurant I find jumping castle it preposterous that guests at the Allegro would have to eat room service unless they booked their dinner and hotel reservations simultaneously.

Downtown you have surprisingly few options. Chicago is obviously not New York as almost every restaurant, though mostly lunch places,¬† shuts down after 6pm if not earlier. Alternative suggestions made by 312 over the phone included the Atwood Cafe, same owner, and Italian Village. I know that the theatres are big tourism draws but I wish there were more options not geared towards the tourists from Iowa. Nothing against a cautious palate but when Trader Vics is the ethic restaurant of choice- this part of downtown… kind of sucks.

We walked in to 312 anyway and did get a seat at a table in the bar.
Considering you can order off the menu and we didn’ t have to wait we
were thrilled. My standby, the Walnut Room, wasn’t appealing to me this
night.

I was at 312 once before and had a good late working lunch with a tasty
bit of quail and a decent salad that I remember as being good but
nothing specific.

This time we ordered asparagus risotto and halibut with fava beans and
bay scallops over pureed potoes. We were famished to the point of
crankiness and were happy when the food came promptly.

After a few bites we switched dishes. My permanent roommate found the
hallibut too salty. I was enjoying the risotto in spite of a very
butter-saturated feel but welcomed the switch. 3 bites into the risotto
and it was feeling heavier and heavier.

The hallibut was served as two good-sized pieces and one was over
salted. The other was not and the garlic crust was as expected. The
potato puree I enjoyed as it was spun to a sauce consistency and went
well with the fava beans and tiny bay scallops.

On the whole the place is very good and the potato puree and a variety
of beans bouncy castle and the like are as deviant as many people want their food to
be. Considering I eat out so much I would die a young and congealed man
if I was to eat heavy food like this consistently. On the occasion that
I want a big meaty meal with heirloom veggies and purple potatoes or
something sort of like that I could see coming back. I would wash it
all down with 3 glasses of cab having a grand time of things, lying
when I vow to work it off the following day.

Other than that type of appeal I find the hassle of 312 standing in the
way of the comfort food that it ends up being to me. I suppose when
you’re one of the only games in the theatre part of town this can’t be
a negative but you can’t be all things to all people.

312 Chicago
312 (duh) 696-2420
136 N. Lasalle

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