Restored 1908 Lincoln Park townhouse houses one of Chicago's finest and most renowned restaurants. The subtle, elegant American contemporary fare is divided into two multi-course (somewhere between seven and ten, usually) tasting menus: vegetables and grains or fish and meat so that you can sample a large number of the kitchen's wonders.
It is well known that star chef Charlie Trotter, praised as "the best, most creative chef in America" never repeats a menu. What is less well known is that customers have virtually no choice over what they will eat (other than a vegetarian or non-vegetarian selection) and must take Mr. Trotter's menu du jour as gospel. Nonetheless, it's clear enough that you have no business second-guessing Mr. Trotter; likely he is far more qualified than you to select the culinary masterworks that will be put before you!
The food is delicious: delicately presented and potentially healthy, and the service is impeccable. While much of the clientele is clearly in the Michael Jordan/Julia Roberts sphere (the luxuries here don't come cheaply), for the most part, the waitstaff doesn't come off as snobbish. After two hours worth of food and drinks, the table full of desserts is staggering.
Dining at Charlie Trotter's is simply a sublime experience that must be experienced by every Chicagoan. Don't be surprised if dinner for two will run you more then $300 including tip and wine. Don't, under any circumstances, forgo the wine (from an extensive, award-winning wine cellar, ranging in price from affordable to four-digit)! Jacket is all-but-required for men, although food, rather than obsequious formality, is clearly the focus here. Free valet parking (a must in the neighborhood, since the scarce street parking is by permit only) is available.
Average cost: $31+