Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chicagobusiness Visits Tribute (800 S. Michigan) has mixed things to say about one of the Sloop's newest restaurants, Tribute (800 S. Michigan):
Service is friendly and prompt but tentative and uninformed. Our waiter was not always familiar with the components in a dish, how they were prepared or whether a plate was recently altered.

Tribute has promise and, to be fair, it had a rocky, sad start. The first chef, Paul Wildermuth, died suddenly before the restaurant opened. A planned opening in the spring was delayed when his successor left abruptly. Mr. Letrero moved up from executive sous chef to executive chef in May.

Time may smooth out kinks such as mixed execution, but until Tribute overhauls its puzzling lunch menu, business diners in the South Loop best look elsewhere.

Food critics don't always align with the general consumers tastes or opinions, so just to be fair, we thought we would take a quick look at Yelp to get a sense of how the general public feels. So far the average yelp rating is 3 out of 5 stars. So take it for what its worth.

(Hat tip: Nic!)


Jeff said...

I went there with my wife a while back for brunch on a Saturday. It was about a week after it had opened.

We enjoyed the food we had. Interesting, creative options, but on the small side and a bit pricy for what it was. The main problem was service. The staff was nice, but it took at least 20 minutes for our first course to appear, and another 10 or so for the next one after that. I know the place was pretty new, but there were maybe five other guests in the entire place at the time.

We popped in a couple weeks back on a weeknight for a drink at the bar. The place was almost empty at eight o'clock. Really a shame. The restaurant space is nicely designed, bright and airy, with big windows and a view of the park. The little lounge area and bar towards the front is inviting and looks like it would be a good spot to hang out in on a snowy night. But seeing it so empty makes it seem less inviting.

We went one more time to maybe have dinner about a week or so back, and again, the place was nearly deserted. We ended up going to Mercat a la Planxa instead. It's just a little weird having dinner in a big, empty room.

I wish them well. Really hope they can find a way to promote themselves and get more buisiness.

Anonymous said...

Jeff - I'm with you. This is exactly the type of venue "looks wise" that I could ask for and I am just waiting for them to inform people about a 4pm - 6pm type deal or after 8pm drinks and desserts special. Also, I realize they are contempory American, but they need to offer a more casual fare for a 4-6pm type crowd to get folks inside. I spend about 75% of my money on South Loop establishments and I can not get my wife inside this place after she saw the menu.

Anonymous said...

Here is a better (and more credible) review:

Anonymous said...

I actually hadn't looked at their menu until just now, but it's not as contemporary American as I expected. Mac and cheese, whitefish, short ribs, strip steak, roasted chicken. That's all pretty standard stuff. What would your wife like to see on the menu?

Anonymous said...

The problem isn't the restaurant itself, it's the horrible look of the Essex Inn. The 60's era facade turns people off immediately.

Jeff said...

I think they need momentum more than anything.

Nobody wants to spend around $80-$100 on a dinner for two in a big empty room. If they got some more traffic and built some energy I think they could make it. Like I said, I've been really wanting to try it for dinner, but part of what you pay for is ambiance... and a big empty dining room doesn't make for a great atmosphere.

The other thing is the times I have been there it's been too quiet. I don't need loud pumping music, but some kind of cool music at a decent volume would help make the place feel more welcoming. Maybe touting its lounge vibe would bring in more after work drinkers.

Lots of potential, but it's not trying very hard.

anonymous22 said...

We had dinner that last month and the food was really tasty. I had watermelon strawberry soup and trout which were both very good. The waiter was helpful and attentive. I would go back again.

Anonymous said...

This makes me sad for the South Loop, but ANOTHER new exec chef sure sounds like a death gurgle for Tribute:

I hope they get it together, but I see the dining room empty every night, and 3 chefs in 6 months does not bode well.

Anonymous said...

I think there's been four chefs now...but it's not really the restaurants fault. Didn't the first die, then the second had to go to rehab before he even started, the third was his assistant, so I'm sure it just took them awhile to find a true replacement, which would be this latest.

Anonymous said...

Great patio but they are not allowing dogs. Even little lap ones. Waste of outdoor space!
So dissapointed, was looking forward to trying.