Chicago >Food & Dining > Coobah
3423 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL | Directions 6065741.944117 -87.663815
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Neighborhoods: North Side, Lakeview
Great food and even better drinks! The bartender Alex (real name Alejandro) is just spectacular with every drink he makes! Try the Mojotos
Very Disappointing Service – After serving in the restaurant industry for nearly 6 years, I was floored by the poor level of service we received at Coobah this past Saturday.
We started off with an order of chips & gauc and magaritas. The waitress seemed a little impatient that we weren't moving on to the main course right away, but we let it go and ordered another round of chips & guac. Not even a minute later, we wanted to change that to a different appetizer and the waitress rolled her eyes and said, "Well, I already put that order in." So we apologized and asked if we could just switch it out. She turned to look back at the kitchen and said, "Yeah, well it's already on it's way out so did you just want to order the other appetizer on top of that?"
Seriously? You can't put the chips back in the basket and the guac back in the bucket?!
So we ordered the additional appetizer on top of the 2nd round of really-not-that-great guac and chips that we really-didn't-want.
A few minutes later, I accidentally spilled my husbands margarita on the floor. I was super apologetic as I felt terrible that people had to come and clean up my spill. The manager was nice enough about it and when I told our server (who had not been there to witness the event), she just said, "Okay, so did you want to order more drinks?" Betting on the industry standard of a "spill tab" in which bartenders expect to replace a few drinks a night from spills, I figured she would just bring out a new one and not charge us.
I was wrong. She did charge us for the spilled drink and the replacement.
After our so-so meal and more eye-rolling from our big-haired waitress, we looked over the check and saw that we had been charged for the drink as well as the chips & guac that we didn't really want (no surprise there tho). So, our bill was split up and while my uber-generous friends were kind enough to tip her 20%, I (as the experienced server), simply tipped her 10% (subtracting the overpriced drink we never got to drink) and wrote a note explaining the reasoning behind the poor tip.
Imagine my surprise when we stood up and she collected the checks while we were STILL standing at our table (Any higher-end establishment has serious etiqutte rules against this kind of behavior). She then looked at our bill and began to argue with me about the tip!!!!!! I was floored. She claimed she didn't charge us for the drink and then went and got the manager to defend her case.
I was so shocked that she would do that (and that the manager would not tell his server to stand down and then apologize), that I handed her more money! Honestly, I did NOT know what to do, I just couldn't believe it was happening.
All this to say, I NEVER write bad reveiws of restaurants, and I really do understand how hard it is to be a server, but this was beyond unacceptable, especially when you are paying for a $150 meal.
Coobah, please do something to better train your employees in customer service and basic etiquette (especially the mid to late - 30 year old waitress with big, black hair and a giant flower pinned in).
I'm sorry to say, we won't ever be back. And neither will our friends.
Something Special on Southport – Let me start by saying, if you haven't been to Coobah you need to check it out. A couple friends and I wondered in on a Thursday for dinner. What a pleasant surprise! They had a cuban jazz band playing live music throughout our meal, which just added to the already cool ambience. The decor is warm and inviting and the staff was very friendly. The bartender was quick with a couple recommendations--try the Caipirinha with strawberries or the delicious Pisco Sour (wasn't on the menu, but the manager mixed us up one). Oh, and Thursday is $5 mojito night. So, needless to say, we sampled all of their variations. Food was outstanding. I'll be jonesing for the Clam and Chorizo Chowder until I can get back there. We had a jerked chicken and plantain dish and spicy mussels for appetizers(both great). For entrees we had the Hanger steak with chipotle mashed potato, the pork tenderloin with shrimp and bacon, and a chicken dish with chilaquiles. They were all so good, we just passed each dish around the table and sampled.
For dessert, a spicy chocolate mousse infused with Patron XO tequila--Awesome!! I will most definitely be back.
Real, Chicago, Cuba, Yummy – As someone who frequents Chicago restaurants I am not easily impressed. Coobah really strikes the chord on all the notes. The older you are, the earlier you should arrive. There is a 'happening' quality to the experience. Sure you can get a great drink and a great meal, but there's also something going on in every corner that provides its own unique entertainment value.
I never liked plantains but Coobah's plantains were cooked so skillfully that I couldn't get enough. The service is true Chicago, if you like them-they like you. If you bring it, they're entirely capable of returning the favor. I like that. It feels very real. So real that you completely forget that you're on Southport Ave.
From the start, any place that refills your water glass quickly maintains a certain level of training and professionalism, I use that as a baseline for quality service. It is clean yet comfortable. Overall the service is observant and acts appropriately for each table's situation.
The food is quite good. I would highly recommend the place, bring your own party.
The atmosphere at Coobah was incredibly unique and tasteful. However, the food was lackluster and disappointing. Their signature dish, the pork, was unimpressive and flavorless. I do not understand why it is receiving such rave reviews.
Amazing food! – Went to Coobah a few nights ago with a party of 5 and LOVED it! The appetizers and entrees were amazing! Their pork tenderloin is out-of-this world...a great fusion of flavors that leaves you wanting more. In general all the dishes were unique due to the combination of spices and flavors. I thought the sangria was too sweet, but besides that I will definitely be coming back soon!
Horrible Service – I booked a reservation for fourteen for a friend's birthday dinner about two weeks in advance. I asked if it was ok to bring in my own cake and the woman on the phone said sure. When I arrived with my cake I had to ask if they could put it in the back for me. The server then asked me "There will be a cutting fee do you still want me to take it in the back?" When I asked how much the fee was he said he didn't know. I said fine and told him when I made the reservation the cutting fee was not mentioned. As guests arrived I had to track down our server and ask if we could order appetizers. Our drink glasses were empty on several occasions. Our server was taking care of other tables and our large group in the back so I had to track him down several times. When our server attempted to cut and serve our cake he made a mess out of it and stated sorry I'm not so good at this. When we partied at the bar one one of the bartenders asked if I was sure I wanted fourteen shots of patron after he stated the price. Offending me, as if we did not have the money to pay for it. We then took our party somewhere else. Food is great but the service was horrible.
Yummy Latin "Fusion" Cuisine – The first time I went here was with my (ahem) "ex gf" when we couldn't find the restaurant we were originally looking for. At first, I thought that place was cramped and old (which it is). But after tasting their food and drinks, I looked passed their cramped interior and indulged in their yummy offerings. I've been here 2 times after that and I continue to like what I taste. If you're looking for that Latin cuisine "redux", then this is a place you want to be. They have remade dishes from around the world (i.e. Mexico, Cuba, Spain, Brazil, and even Philippines) adding "traditional Latin twists" to their dishes hence making their cuisine "Latin Fusion". Although everything on the menu sounded appitizing to me, I stuck with their seafood. I'll be honest with you, THEE BEST seafood stew I've EVER had was their Shellfish Stew "Zarzuela". If you like shrimp, muscles, and scallops then this IS a must try. Sure, they have beef and chicken, but try the seafood. Let's not forget the drinks. They make their mojitos the traditional way and their Caipirinha (Brazil's answer to Cuba's mojito) with REAL cachaca (pronounced ca-sha-sa) (Brazilian rum). If you find yourself on Southport Ave by the Brown Line stop, stop on in. This place is great for a "pregame' dinner or a late night hangout, possibly after seeing a movie at the Musicbox Theater just down the street. I'm sure you'll find your Latin side here =)
No one knows what's going on here – I have no idea how long this place has been here, but the level of service makes me think that I came here during the first week. The highlights of our bad experience involved: not being seated until 45 minutes after our reservation, having to ask for refills on drinks/more beverages as the waitress was walking away, small tables and waitress bringing appetizers and entrees out at once, undercooked food and extremely crowded.
The drinks however we're good and of the three things we ordered, one of them was fantastic. We will not be returning.
Perfect atmosphere! – My girlfriend and I recently made a trip to Chicago and included Coobah on our list of must-try restaurants, it didn't disappoint. The atmosphere of the restaurant itself captured the environment you would expect to eat this kind of food in. On a warm night with a nice breeze the open air style was perfect.
Onto food -- The Sangria was nothing short of great, just make sure to keep the ice coming with the pitchers or else it might get a little warm with the temperature. For appetizers we had the Spicy Mussels and Pork Skewers. Both were exceptionally well prepared and everything from presentation to texture was spot on. For our entrees we had Chicken Negra Modelo and the Sandwich "Coobah". Both were also quite well prepared and the plantains were great.
All in all a great restaurant you should definitely check out if you enjoy Latin food and a unique atmosphere.
Service was also great as our waitress couldn't have been more friendly and knowledgeable, even giving out vintage shopping advice!
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