Sunday, April 27, 2008

Grand Lux Cafe

This is a cranky post. I was in Chicago last week and found myself alone one of the evenings so I decided to try the restaurant around the corner from my hotel, Grand Lux Cafe. This restaurant is part of the same organization as the Cheesecake Factory (which is only reflected in the generous portion sizes).

Unfortunately I don't have any photos of the place or the meal I ordered (a tasty combo plate, half fillet mignon half braised lamb served with mashes potatoes, which despite it's deliciousness, was served somewhat cold).

What I'm venting about is the dessert. I am not really a dessert person, I rarely order dessert. When I do, it's because I'm really in the mood and expect to have something very satisfying. The moment I sat down at Grand Lux Cafe, the waiter told me that their dessert selection was amazing and I should be aware that many options should be ordered early as it took up to 20 minutes to prepare as they were baked to order.

That sounded like a dream since I was just in the right mood. When I ordered their famous Warm Rustic Apple Pie, he told me it would take 35 minutes, which is very different from 20 minutes. I asked for Molten Chocolate Cake, same result. Likewise with New Orleans Beignets. I asked if he recommended something else that took less time. He said most other items were around the same time. I copped out and ordered a Banana Cream Pie to go.

Upon arriving at my hotel, I was greeted with this:

Banana Cream Pie at Grand Lux Cafe

It tasted like what I would expect it to taste if it had traveled in a car for 12 hours with someone sitting on it. The banana was completely raw, which is ok, except it was over-ripe. The cream tasted like egg and the crust was mushy. I'm not going to dwell in the presentation issues, I'll just let this image speak for itself.

Farofa: * out of 5

Forks Down Verdict: Over-promise and under-delivery are particuarlly bad for restaurants as you have to eat the outcome.

Grand Lux Cafe
600 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

Get Directions
(773) 276-2500

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