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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Elaine finally finds a buffet -- at $95 a head in Chicago

Posted By on Tue, Apr 10, 2007 at 3:12 PM

I spent the Easter weekend in Chicago and used the trip to check out a few of the city's myriad restaurants. The highpoint was Easter Brunch at Seasons, the opulent 7th floor restaurant inside the Four Seasons Hotel, on downtown's Magnificent Mile. Yes, I am on record as despising buffets, both for their glorification of gluttony and for the "quantity over quality" mentality. But this is the Four Seasons. You can bet that guests who dish out $95 per person aren't sporting elastic waistbands, primed to hoover up mountains of instant mashed potatoes and canned gravy in a quest to "get their money's worth." On the other hand, it does beg the question of what, exactly, a diner gets for the considerable outlay — besides an eye-popping setting, along with elegant appointments, flawless service, and free photos with the Easter Bunny. Only this: More than 200 creatively crafted dishes, featuring trendy, exotic, and/or luxurious ingredients, bursting with fresh, vibrant flavors. No congealed sauces, stale muffins, or flabby pastas here. Instead, imagine scores of enticing temptations, beautifully presented, artfully garnished, and impeccably maintained, such as veal cheeks with artichoke and wild river salmon. Pricey and indulgent? Undoubtedly. But speaking strictly as a hard-core foodie, I'll take that over the $7.95 salad bar buffet any day. — Elaine T. Cicora
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