But, this past weekend my parents were in town and I relied on the ratings to choose a restaurant. (As I've blogged before, the Reader's a pretty infallible way of finding great places to try.) I took them to Allen's, a pricey 3-R restaurant, and came home with this rant:
In my opinion, the superlatives are warranted for flavor and freshness, but some of the presentation was less than inspired (dollop of sauce on top of crab cake appetizer that looked like an afterthought before it left the kitchen, for example). But here's the biggest deal, and management at Allen's, I hope you're listening: If you want to know why your restaurant isn't packed at prime time on Saturday night it's because you have a picture of an onion with a nose made out of a door hook and two feet out of door stoppers and a photo of a head of cauliflower in a wooden vice hanging in crappy metal frames on the walls. And, you're housed in friggin' River North where you can't stumble out the front door without stepping on great art. This stuff matters. Talk to your gallery neighbors. Change the art. Maybe upgrade the chairs so they're nicer than the pizza place down my block, and THEN I'll rave. But at these prices in this neighborhood, the decor is almost shameful.
It just killed me to stare at that goddamn cauliflower all night.