Chicago >Food & Dining > Le Bouchon
1958 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL | Directions 6064741.917580 -87.677758
Mon-Thurs 5:30-11pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-midnight
Neighborhoods: Bucktown, North Side
If this restaurant is good enough for Joan Cusack (admittedly her fave restaurant in Chicago), it's good enough for me. Adding French flair to Damen Ave.
rude staff, poor manners, – I had dinner here with a friend on a weekday night and the whole experience was terrible. First of all when you walk in, the place is so tight you can barely squeeze by the tables without knocking something over. There is no hostess station so I basically found myself just standing, puzzled and it was awhile before anyone noticed my confusion. In the meantime I was standing in the middle of the restaurant with people bumping into me not knowing were to go-annoying. After my friend and I were seated we met our waitress and she was very rude. She acted as if she was doing us a favor by even talking to us. I never give a bad tip but she was so abnoxious that she only got the minimum 10%. The ambiance and vibe of this place was so unpleasant I would never go back.
A Waste of Time and Money! – I agree, rudeness seems to be the theme at Le Bouchon. I have travelled extensively and frequently through France and this restaurant is both underwhelming and unwelcoming. I have also been a rater for a very popular national restaurant chain with a large variety of restaurants, including French Cuisine. Le Bouchon would not pass any of their standards. We booked a reservation for 9 people on New Years Eve weeks in advance. This 45 person capacity restaurant had 2 seatings, one at 7:30 and one at 10:00. We took a limo and arrived early at 9:45 from our hotel. We were told to find a bar in the area because the restaurant was too crowded with others waiting. We crossed the street and went over to a bank lobby and returned at our seating time. It was nearly 11:00 before we were seated. The 1st seating patrons refused to leave on this cold evening as if they planned to stay all night, and we were crammed in waiting for our tables. Some in our party had worked that day and been up since 5AM. No drinks, hor d'oerves or any laniappe were offered, let alone an apology. Once we were seated the prix fix menu of 65.00 was no longer appealing when they ran out of the best appetizer composed of lobster, shrimp and scallops and had nothing comparable to offer as a substitute. They were also out of the entree, Lamb Chops and served our dessert without the Profiterole, again no apology, offer of substitution from anyone including the owner who chose to sit with more familiar guests. We spent over $800 and were not even wished Good evening or Happy New Year. In a restaurant so small, I expect a more personal touch. I get it in France, which is full of small neighborhood restaurants and charming people, whether in the villages, French Riviera or Paris. I would never go back to this restaurant and for anyone who wants to get a flavor or France, skip this one, it would represent a bad stereotype!
Good but TIGHT! – The food was really good but the place is so cramped and loud it's almost a stressful experience! I think we went on a Tuesday or Wednesday night and the place was packed. It seemed like quite a few were regulars and I can appreciate why. The bartender was very nice and helpful with selections and the food was very good. But, like a mentioned earlier, the tables were as close together as I remember Francesca's being...maybe even more so. In fact, we were seated against the wall and the patron at the next table who had her back to our table would have her hair on our table when she would tilt her head back to laugh or whatever she was doing. Ick! I have no idea how the waiter managed to squeeze in there to take our order and deliver food. The place was so loud, I had to ask my dining companion to repeat himself a few times. I don't recall ever having to do that at any other restaurant I've ever been to (other than Francesca's). All and all a good meal but I probably won't be back simply due to the noise and close quarters.
AVOID – They placed too many tables for the small space they have. Midway through the meal, waiters/waitress had come and asked us to move closer to our table in order for they to get through - we were already tightly squeezed into our limited space. Food tastes good except I got food poisoned. Most unpleassant expirence I have had.
Rudeness of a Bistro without the benefits – We WERE long time customers. No more. The wait staff learn their rudeness from the owner. A waitress spilled a glass of red wine on my wife. The owner witnessed it! No apology. No offer to pay for cleaning. Many years ago, Bouchon was in the lead. They no longer deserve the popularity. They are not a bistro (bistro means fast in Russian), and anyone who has waited over an hour for a table knows that that aint fast) -- Margaux, Bernard, and Matou have out-bistroed them. The Costco duck now surpasses Bouchon's. It is resting on laurels earned many years ago -- if the wait staff and the owner don't want to be there, why would a diner?
Rude waitress – The food was good I have to say. Union soup like it's suppose to be. But.....our waitress was rude. Very rude. All she did was talk to my wife throughout the night and never glanced a look at me (I'm not even that ugly) or asked if I liked the dinner. Oh, we waited 25 min. for the union soup to show up. A bit too long if you ask me.
Awful pretentious service and subpar food – I have to say that this was one of the worst restaurant experiences I have had in quite some time. The waitress was a humorless and pretentious snob and the rest of the staff was not far off. I am not sure who manages the restaurant but they are doing a terrible job of maintaining a friendly and welcoming environment. Serving french style food does not mean one must fall into the stereotypical rudeness of french waiters. Any good restaurant pays very close attention to the details when service is involved. Now the food was not much better than the service. We ordered escargot and sent them back because they were criminally underseasoned (for waitresses, that means undersalted) and received another seafood appetizer in exchange and found it also terribly undersalted. We are talking about day one in culinary school. Salt your food!! The entrees were also terribly seasoned. Maybe it was a bad day there but there are plenty of fantastic restaurants in this city that you need not waste your time with rude servers and uncreative badly executed food.
Very disappointed – I went there on a friday night at 7PM with my girlfriend. We knew it was going to be crowded but we were still expecting some kind of romantic setting. Actually, this restaurant is like a low cost tavern as far as ambiance. It is just impossible for people to hear you unless you shout. It is so noisy you dont even want to talk with your partner. And service was very slow too. The staff was astonishingly not nice at all, like they don't care about their job, so we gave 10% tip only (wanted to give even less though). Oh when they fill your glass with water and ice cubes, you end up having water splashing all over the place, which is not professional at all. The food was OK but not as good as Mon Ami Gabi. Appetizers and Desserts were excellent but entrees were cooked the american way and not the french way, some ingredients were tasteless. In the end, I would NOT recommend this place...
OK but definitely not great – Went there last night with a friend. I expected that it would not be quiet, but with the music turned up as loud as it was everyone had to shout and I ended up wanting to leave sooner than I otherwise would have so I could actually talk the interesting woman I was with. The server was inattentive at best and indeed totally forgot about one of our starters. We decided to split the frogs legs special, which was superb but why can't relatively nice restaurants divide a plate in the kitchen or, at the least, bring a couple of small plates to the table. I mean, doing at least that just seems like common courtesy. But then our came our main courses way too fast, and the braised leeks (which the server had highly recommended) just were passed over. My skate wing was ok, but a bit greasy as though the pan weren't hot enough when it was put in. The red wine I ordered at the bar as well as the bottle we ordered with dinner were too warm -- room temperature for red wine doesn't mean 75 degrees like the close dining room. Le Bouchon certainly didn't live up to its billing and all in all I'd say it was a disappointment. Also, while the tables are close and small, that wouldn't normally be a problem, but note that there are no coats racks -- how will one manage on a winter's night?
A fast paced French Restaurant in Bucktown – Although this restautant has become a bit more hectic over the years, it still offers sophisticated fare. From our memory, the food seemed a bit more elegant in the early days, but maybe it's just our old age. But generally, the menu is excellant and the overall experience is very satisfying. My only real complaint is with the service, which can be impersonal at times. The lower priced wines are a bit underwhelming and I wish they offered a few better choices here. But still, they are quite acceptable. Recommended.
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