Saturday, November 24, 2012

Mon Ami Gabi

Location: 2300 N Lincoln Park Avenue West
Cost: About $35-$45 per person

One of my typical running paths takes me across Fullerton and down the lake shore path. As many of you Lincoln Park natives know, there's been a ton of construction over there for at least the past few months. Thus, my path diverts me down Lincoln Park Avenue and right past the Belden Stratford Hotel.

Now I swear that I could probably figure out what part of my run I'm on based on the smell. When I leave my place it smells like Uncle Julio's. When I make one of my first turns, the baked good smell of Sweet Mandy B's is pretty prominent. Then when I make my way down Lincoln Park I can usually catch a waft of seafood, steak, and french fries from Mon Ami Gabi. I went there once 4 years ago for my 21st birthday dinner and was tempted each time I ran by. My dad called the other day and said he had a surplus of Lettuce Entertain You gift cards, so the choice was easy.

Like I was saying, the restaurant is right off the lobby of a hotel. They've got this great patio and a busy yet cozy interior. We were sat in the back corner which was much quieter than the rest of the bustling dining room. My dad's kind of a stickler for noise and other annoying things (like people in general) near our table. They get pretty busy on the reg, so I'd suggest you make a reservation. They have a valet service, but if you're lucky you can get one of the few street spots nearby. Otherwise the bus is probably your best option.

Our service was alright, but I'm not sure that our waiter was so knowledgeable about the menu. He kept fumbling over the specials and had to come back and ask questions about our order over again. I guess that's better than bringing out the wrong stuff though. The cost is pretty reasonable for what you get. Most appetizers are around $10, and most entrees are around $20. You can get most steaks for under $30.

The Food
It was a cold night out so we split some soups for starters. The potato and leek was the special. It was extra creamy but could've used some more of the namesake ingredients. It also came out a bit lukewarm. The French Onion was what you might expect. It came in a little crock covered in cheese. The broth was rich and brown with plenty of soaking bread.

The Potato and Leek Soup

 The French Onion Soup

We also went for some Pate. We weren't sure whether or not to get this or the chicken liver mousse, but we opted for the firmer texture. I don't know if my family has found a pate that we don't like, but this was pretty nicely done. There was a subtle grainy quality and of course an overwhelming richness to each bite.

The Housemade Country Pate

For the main course my mom got the Steak Au Poivre, my dad got the Beef Burgundy, and I got the Sea Scallops. The steak was hammered out thinly, doused in gravy, and came with a side of their crispy frites. There was a strong peppery quality to the whole thing which was pretty interesting. The meat had more of a chew to it than I would've liked, but it was still a solid dish. The beef burgundy was nice and rich, but I think my Uncle Harry does a better job. The scallops were prepared properly with a nice sear. The side of brussel sprouts was moderately undercooked though.

The Steak Au Poivre

 The Sea Scallops

 The Beef Burgundy

For dessert we got the Bananas Foster Crepe. There were no complaints here, and we had that plate polished off in a few minutes.

 The Bananas Foster Crepe

Mon Ami Gabi has a great setup with an easily navigable menu. If you want steak or seafood then you can't really go wrong here. We had a few miscues on some of our dishes, but things were mostly spot on. I'm giving them 3 out of 5 Pearls.

Mon Ami Gabi (Beldon-Stratford) on Urbanspoon


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