Sunday, March 13, 2016

RL -- The Verdict

If the ladies who lunched liked big, sloppy burgers, they would have a lovely time at RL.  A pretty, but cramped room was a warm an inviting escape from the tourist hell end of Michigan avenue.  We'd all go back for the room, but the the burger split us into two camps.  The negativists thought the burger was just okay, not worth the $19 charge, with unadvertised raw onion, tomato, and "thin and slimy lettuce." "And then there was the salt:  burger was super salty.  Fries lacked salt.  Which was hiding in the pickle."  The positivists thought the taste merited the two-napkin (two well-pressed crisp Egyptian cotton napkins, of course) messiness.  Nice ramekins on condiments.  We all agreed (1) the service was fantastic, not stuffy; and (2) the fries were on the nubbiny side.  Low of 66, high of 84; average of 74.

Exhibit 64 -- RL

Seven Lions -- The Verdict

While one of our group was disappointed by two sadly tasteless patties, the balance of our group thought this was a worthy addition to Michigan Avenue and Chicago burgerdom in general.  The fans found the burgers decision, the fried egg excellent, and side pickles enjoyable.  Those in support thought the beef flavor was well complemented by a quality American cheese.  "Boxy but good."  "Loved the first, fries, loved the service.  Punished only by a weak difficulty rating."  "Best burger I;'ve ever had in a former Bennigan's, hands down," said one.  I think even our detractors would say it compares favorably even to a current Bennigan's.  Low of 62; high of 88; average of 82.

Exhibit 63 -- Seven Lions

Cherry Circle Room -- The Verdict

Ambience + flavor = impressive!   Like the building itself, the burger received a lot of loving attention from the ground up, and it shows!  While the light char didn't overwhelm one of our reviewers, our group loved the mix.  Said one:  "The number of patties was a bit reminiscent of the razorblades arms rave:  perhaps four patties would be better.  Our maybe just one, cooked med-rare."  Generally, though, we found the burger delicious, the bun tasty, and the fries transcendent.  This place is like the Jiro Dreams of Burger.  Each element has been thought out to arrive at the ideal, from the size of the patties to the perfect circle of the gouda.  "The service, the tunes, the decor -- I mean it is like a straight up asset of classy low-key coolness.  Well done.  I want to come back for dinner, like tonight."  Low of 80; high of 92; average of 87.

Exhibit 62 -- Cherry Circle Room

Miss Ricky's -- The Verdict

Given that Miss Ricky's is a diner-style restaurant located in a hotel (even a trendy Virgin Hotel), expectations were low.  We all had a good time, enjoying the excellent service service and tasty apps (potato skins and gluten-free onion rings)  But, the burger itself was divisive.  Detractors thought the bun was too large, the meat was unflavored, and -- quelle horreur! -- promised bacon was missing from one of our orders.  (Ricky, don't lose that bacon!)  Supporters like the dual patties, cooked to perfection, the special sauce, and overall mix.  I think we'd all come back, groove on the onion rings, but then we might order quite different entrees.  Low of 68; high of 88; average 78.

Exhibit 61 -- Miss Ricky's