Chicago >Food & Dining > Charlie Trotters
816 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL | Directions 6061441.918276 -87.649318
Seatings Tues-Thurs at 6 and 9pm; Fri-Sat at 5:30 and 9pm
Neighborhoods: DePaul, North Side
Save Yourself from DISAPPOINTMENT – we were celebrating our 29th anniversary in chicago and thought ct would be a great cap to a wonderful visit. NOT SO the food was good but immediately forgetable, the service non-existent and the overall atmosphere depressing. luckily we also dined at TRU and that experience was absolutely FANTASTIC. If you have the$ to spend on a dining experience take your $ to TRU we will always go back there but NEVER again to ct.
Tragically disappointing – This highly rated fine dining restaurant was a tragic disappointment. The quality of the food was poor (duck and veal were tough and stringy - not sure how that happens, asparagas was woody, dishes were too salty).
At one point we had to search for a server which took over 10 minutes. A dish was sent back for additional cooking which should have taken a few minutes but took almost 20. This does not represent the "Excellence" on which this restaurant prides itself.
I know what a great dining experience is, and this is not it. Save your money!!!
Disappointed – Most of you reading this review have already read many others or heard of Charlie Trotter's. You will walk in utterly impressed by their impeccable greeting and hospitality in the lounge area. You may pick up a couple books and read about the best restaurants in the world which include Trotter's. That is how our night started and we were excited.
Then we were seated about an hour late with no apology. The food was good enough, but certainly not worth the price. You can find tastier food at 100 other restaurants in Chicago for less than half the price. And for a 20% automatic service charge, I would expect their service to be exactly that - automatic. But it took too long for any at-table requests to be realized.
I would expect for the price (expect an average of $375 for 2 people, without drinks) everything to be nearly perfect. They had one chance to show me and they failed. And worse, if you have any criticisms you indicate on their feedback form and ask them to contact you, don't expect to hear from them.
A Wonderful Experience – Just great. We were also lucky enough to tour the kitchen. The place is full of true professionals. Everyone there takes pride in their work, from the valet attendant to the kitchen staff. I was IMPRESSED.
Best Lunch @ Work Ever – Trotter's To Go (at the 1337 W Fullerton Ave locale) delivered its wonderful and tasty yummies to my workplace. Thank you to all of you who had great things to say about Trotter's because it helped me choose them to cater my company's event. You see, I am new to the office and have been given the task to please 63 hungry men and 2 women every 3rd Friday. These guys eat great everyday and I definitely wanted to impress them. Now, I am sitting back at my desk...breathing a sigh of relief and feeling joy in my heart, because Trotter's really came through. Soooooo, I suggest that you definitely try (if you haven't already) the Spinach Salad w/Artichoke Hearts, Red Onion, Feta, & Yuzo-Miso Vinaigrette; the Cavatappi Pasta w/Spinach Pesto(YUMMY; the Wood Grilled Chicken Breast-Sliced and Flank Steak (GREAT GRILLED TASTE); the Demi Ciabatti dinner rolls (WONDERFUL) and Cookie-Brownie Combination Platter. The Trotter's Team was great and helpful too..Very polite and informative. I rate the overall experience a 10! Thanks again Trotter's To Go...You guys are awesome!!
Dream Come True – My husband surprised me with a romantic dinner for our 10 year wedding anniversary. He knows I am a foodie and love to cook. He knew this is something that would be very special to me. He tried to get the kitchen table, but he was told that they only sit 4 to 6 at the kitchen table. Well, the day of our reservations they called us and said that the kitchen table had a cancellation and that it was noted on our reservation that my husband had asked about it. They said they would make an exception for us to fill the table. I thought it was so nice of them to call us, even though we were only a party of 2.
It was truly a remarkable experience. The food was so imaginative. I would have never thought of combining some of the ingredients they did. Even my husband who is traditionally a steak and potatoes kind of guy, thoroughly enjoyed the food. His favorite dish of the 18 dishes we were served was a rare type of tuna that the chef told us only 1 was imported into the United States every week. My husband also ordered the wine pairing with his meal, which he truly enjoyed. The chefs try to make sure everything planned on the menu for that evening is from fresh seasonal ingredients.
They surprised me with asking if I would like to go with one of the chef's and plate a dish. They could tell I was having so much fun, I couldn't stop smiling. Then the asked me to take the dish and present it to my husband. This is not something they do very often, I was told.
I don't eat chocolate because of it making me have headaches, so they made me some non-chocolate deserts that were not the plan for the evening. We were so stuffed we were almost not able to try all the assortment of deserts that came our way.
Then we got a private tour of the restaurant including the wine cellar. The whole restaurant experience was about 3 hours.
Wow! This was an amazing experience of a lifetime!
Hospitality at it's best! – We came to Chicago to dine at Alinea for the 'Tour' menu. We left talking about Charlie Trotter's. It was my friends birthday and coming from a culinary city (NY) are mission was to try as many restaurants as possible. After a meal at Alinea, our intentions were to dine like everyday locals- the best brunch place, best deep dish, etc. After eight restaurants in two days, our bags were packed and we were ready for the airport. But not till we strolled the streets of Lincoln Park (AKA the 'Soho' of Chicago). After sludging through the slushy streets with luggage in tow, we just happened to walk by CT. Mind you, CT was not even on our list of places to see. My friend was reading the menu and announced erroneously that they were closed. I proceeded to walk up the stairs to take a closer look only to notice that there was a gentleman at the bar (this was 3PM). I turned around to join my friend and before you know it, the door opened and the gentleman said "well, hello. Would you like to come in for a tour?" Without hesitation, "of course!" . We walked through the dining rooms to the kitchen to the cellars with our wet boots (Chicago received 8" of snow the night before). When we return to the back to the bar area, two settings were set at the bar. The maitre'd motioned to us to have a seat while he took our coats. As we removed our layers (Chicago gets really COLD!), he said that the Chef has prepared a small bite if we had time to stay. We were in our seats before he finished his sentence. We were treated to a three-course meal with wine pairings a la minute. Just like that. Before service, whilst the staff was setting up! We were speechless and felt like we were on candid camera.It didn't end there. As we left, furiously calling our friends to brag about our experience, the maitre'd catches up to us (four blocks away) to hand us a cookbook and a bottle of steak sauce! Who does that? Chef Charlie- when we come back to Chicago, were coming to see you!
Arrogance Redefined – Working with Charlie Trotter's for a holiday party was the most appalling experience we've had in years. We rented out the restaurant for 92 people, and at every step along the way, the Trotter's people were arrogant, unresponsive and aloof. We've organized and hosted parties at some of Chicago's most esteemed institutions, and never have we encountered a crew like that at Trotter's.
The staff there ignored the budget, refused to accomodate our decorative requests, and attempted to renegotiate the contract up until the last minuute. At the end of the party, two employees told our administrative help that our group was "not aon par " with the normal restaurant clientele. Considering that we've always had positive experiences at some of the finest restaurants around the world, including Alain Ducasse's establishments in France, they're probably correct.
The food is excellent and the service is gracious and accomodating. But for a group affair, you can find much better value --and less attitude - at a number of other Chicago establishments.
Overpriced and underwhelmed – In August 2007, my husband and I flew to Chicago from LA to celebrate his birthday. We kicked off the celebration on our first night in town with what we thought would be a special dinner at Charlie Trotter's. We could not have been more dissappointed. For starters we were taken upstairs to a backroom, with only one other couple in the room who just happened to be seated right next to us. After they left, we were the only people in the space and were forgotten about for most of the meal. We each ordered a tasting menu. I ordered the vegetarian tasting, and my husband ordered the grand tasting. The courses across the board were overly spiced. The spcices and courses were strangely incompatible with each other. The portions were small, which in our case was a good thing. The plum with poached garlic and sauce was not appealling and I didn't eat it. When I told the waiter this was by far my least favorite dish, all he could do was repeat the ingredients for me. He never thought to ask if I wanted a substitution. The fish and meat dishes were too salty as well. The meal was unequivocally the most expensive meal we've every had, and one of the least enjoyable. We were told that Mr. Trotter was not in the restaurant that week and couldn't help but wonder if the experience would have been different had be been at the helm.
Worst Dining Experience EVER – My husband and I were in Chicago for our anniversary and we wanted to have dinner somewhere special. We were drawn in to the reputation of CT and hoped for a romantic dining experience. It was quite the opposite from what we expected. CT is not for young adults looking for a fun atmosphere and good food. The ambiance was pretentious and boring. The food was the worst I've ever tasted. The portions were ridiculously small and the food combinations too eclectic. Basil sorbet, mashed onion loaf, chorizo chocolate brownie - no combination of food and spice made sense or tasted edible together. My husband and I felt as though we had been robbed after paying for our meal. We were starving when we left because we could barely choke down any of the food served - we ended up eating a giant brownie sundae at the end of the night just to satiate our hunger pangs. The whole experience was extremely disappointing. I wouldn't recommend this restaurant to anyone.
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