Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Thursday, June 30

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Review Fri Dec 06 2013

Satisfied but not Inspired at La Grande Vie

dsc_2938.jpgWhen La Grande Vie (LGV) first opened, I left the restaurant fuming in an Orc-like rage. After waiting half an hour for the appetizer and another half for the waiter to refill my water, I paid and walked out before the entrée arrived. So when I returned to LGV a year later with friends, I was possibly (though unconsciously) resentful.

Nonetheless, the restaurant suited our needs for a low-key venue with good cocktails, and LGV was right off the bustles of Michigan Avenue. (We were the only diners, which I particularly liked as it gave me an excuse to be obnoxiously loud.) As we pored over the menu, I was surprised that within the span of two days, it had consolidated into a list consisting only of small-plates, the sandwiches, soups, and entrees completely eliminated. It was probably a budget call, but I was still disappointed that they had removed the poutine and medley of sides.

dsc_2941.jpgFor dinner, we split a trio of sliders (beef, veal, lamb), a meatball flatbread, some salads, spicy shrimp with quinoa, and a few other "small plates." The first dish (my tuna salad) took about half an hour to arrive, but the timing and pacing was perfect for the remainder of our meal.
dsc_2948.jpg The food itself was well executed, nicely portioned, and comfortably delicious. The pork belly mac & cheese, tuna nicoise salad, and cast iron seared strip loin satiated my taste buds, but didn't inspire them. In fact, I was decidedly neutral about my overall experience. Although I wouldn't dine at LGV for its tapered menu, I did enjoy the actual restaurant environment. The separation of space, sleek furniture, and low lighting made for a relaxing and quiet dinner in Downtown Chicago. It's a good change of scenery after all the gastropubs I've haunted recently.


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Doug / January 27, 2014 9:09 PM

Whether you're deciding to drop 20% or a few nickels, your tipping etiquette is how the people who touch your food will perceive you. You received spot on service; ice was broken at first because we met before, yet you let me $2 on what would be a $178 check. After arguing that you were invited to dine, manager takes $140 (+ taxes) off. As someone who claims to understand the people behind the food, you must know that you should tip on the non-discounted total.

Your inspired (but not satisfied) La Grande Vie waiter

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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