A few months ago, I alluded that I’d be traveling to Chicago and eating magnificent food on the Mag Mile. That I did, but sadly, I never uploaded any posts – until today!
Before traveling to the windy city (yes, WINDY, let’s just say the forecast said high 60’s, so of course I didn’t bring a jacket. I mean, that’s nearly 70’s, which is usually perfection. Um, I definitely didn’t think about the wind-chill so had to make a trip to the Gap for a cute winter peacoat) – side notes aside, I researched all the hot spots and well-known restaurants.
And, if you even know me, you obviously know that I am a huge Top Chef fan. On the season one of Top Chef Masters, you may recall that both Rick Bayless and Art Smith made it to the final four, competing against Michael Chiarello and the lovely Hubert Keller. Naturally, I couldn’t choose between Rick and Art’s signature Chicago restaurants, so went to both during the trip.
On the second night of our stay, my mom, sister and I hopped into a cab to Table Fifty-Two, which was a short ride away from the downtown area we were staying in. As our cab approached the restaurant, I thought – is this it?
Tucked away in a neighborhood, Table Fifty-Two is a 19th century house that doesn’t have much signage and looks every other house on the block (I later found out that this house survived the Great Chicago Fire). As we entered the house, we were greeted by the lovely hostess who had our table ready for us. The entire house had been converted to a restaurant and here we were sitting in what was the family room/entry way. The decorations leave you feeling like you are sitting in a southern home since all the tables are cozy, simple pictures are hung on the walls and you can see the wood-burning oven near the bar.
Side note: The staff was the best. Everyone was so attentive, constantly asking if we were OK. And, Mr. Smith was there! I know, such luck! He was extremely nice, and like the rest of his staff, was very courteous and personally stopped by each table. Of course, I was star-struck, so my Mom had to politely ask him for a picture since I was tongue-tied.
Anyways, back to the food…
As we settled in were given an amuse-bouche of deviled eggs. I know, kinda weird, but they were a nice little treat – and, who can really complain when they are free?
Since it was Sunday, Art’s famous Fried Chicken was the menu. As I looked around the room, almost every person had at least one of these at the table, so naturally, I ordered it.
As we waited for our meals, our waitress came by with free cheese biscuits for us. Now, I love biscuits. Biscuits and gravy, little Pillsbury Doughboy one’s – you name it, I’ll love it. But these, were AMAZING. Cheese + biscuits + butter = fatty-amazingness-with-calories-going-straight-to-my-ass-but-who-the-hell-cares-anyways?
Then, the dinner came….
My fried chicken and mashed potatoes looked amazing. And tasted good. The chicken was properly seasoned and was still juicy as you bit into the poor little chicken leg. Not bad, but I have to say I was hoping for a little more zing. I mean, don’t get me wrong, these were probably the best pieces of fried chicken I’ve had in my life (ha, definitely better than Just Like Yo Mamma), but I guess I was hoping for it to completely blow me away. Maybe I just had too high of expectations?As we wrapped up our meal, the waitress stopped by with yet another freebee. This time, it was a sweet potato s’more-type thing. Although I typically don’t like sweet potatoes, this was sweetened and tasted like pumpkin pie that was topped with a golden marshmellow.
Overall, a wonderful way to start my trip.
Name: Table Fifty-Two
Address: 52 W. Elm Street, Chicago, Illinois
Pricing: Main courses are around $25-30 (generous servings)
Byte Rating: 4.5 out of 5