** (2 stars)
I’ll admit it. I don’t understand places that play music so loud you can’t communicate. Why go on a date with someone you don’t want to talk to? And particularly when the place bills itself as a sophisticated dining venue, what’s the point if you can’t hear what’s in the food, or discuss it as you dine?
I was extremely disappointed in Graham Elliot. The food is okay, but the ambiance is non existent. Because of the deafening, non-stop techno/grunge/rock/rap/pop soundtrack so you can’t even hear the descriptions of each dish. We had 21 courses and 18 matching beverages. 50% of the courses were completely forgettable, the others were good, but not one was as good as a typical course at Moto, Tru, Charlie Trotters or any of a dozen other places nearby.
I’d heard that the courses were small, which doesn’t bother me, but you should know that “small” here often means one bite. Most dishes have many, many ingredients (couldn’t hear what) but don’t seem to combine to create a whole greater than the parts.
The wine list is mostly boutique novelty wines, no depth, and little variation. The wine carafes are 2 liter chemistry flasks, which tends to make everything look like a lab specimen. The waiters wear jeans and t-shirts.
On the plus side, I thought the price was reasonable; expensive, yes, but for what they are trying to do, and the amount of effort put in, not bad. And it was neat to have a different beverage to match nearly every course, but 80% were mixed drinks, not wine.
Overall, there are many, many better options.
217 W Huron St
Chicago, IL 60654