Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Kurman clients top restaurant critic's list


We're always happy to work with such great journalists and reporters in this industry. One such media is Ralph Pancetta, successful West Coast chef and restaurant manager turned Chicago area restaurant critic for www.ralphpancetta.com and www.OntheFox.com. Pancetta recently posted a round up of the Top 10 Restaurants he visited in 2009 and we're happy to say that FIVE Kurman clients made the cut, two of which tied for the No. 1 spot.

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l of Pancetta's reviews are based on the following criteria: food quality, plating and presentation, service and distractions (excessive noise or non-attentive staff). Similar to other critic's star or fork ratings, Pancetta creatively rates restaurants on glasses of Zinfandel. The top restaurant choices for example, both received a rating of 5 Zins. Highlights from Pancetta's "2009: The Year in Review" include the following Kurman clients:

9: Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen - Westmont
(original review 9-18-09)

I could eat fish and seafood five days out of seven (at one time I did) as long as it was fresh... and that is one very important caveat. The seafood was definitely fresh -- especially the oysters -- and the relaxed atmosphere, very reasonable pricing and good food combine to make Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen a winner. "The atmosphere is lively, fun, comfortable -- even somewhat upscale -- and relaxing. But the key is to be found in the variety of high-quality, fresh seafood that is flown in daily and used to create the many fish and seafood creations on the menu." (3.5 Zins)

4: Sweet Baby Ray's - Wood Dale
(original review 4-21-09)

For those would not want to bother to take a drive to Wood Dale, you are missing out on some incredible food... period. And, entering the place, you would never have the slightest idea of the quality of food that is generated from the kitchen. "In the world of barbecue -- at least in the one I know -- Sweet Baby Ray's is that once-in-a-great-while restaurant. The Magic is just as undeniable; one can almost feel it as one walks through the front door." You can thank Chef Duce Raymond for that - He loves what he does and is a master at doing it. (4.0 Zins)

3: Trattoria Isabella - Chicago
(original review 10-17-09)

"Lauren and I have been on the lookout for dining venues...where we might be able to at least pretend we were in a foreign land because of the food and atmosphere." "With a gracious host, a smiling and professional waiter, quiet and inviting ambience and excellent cuisine, one couldn't ask for much more in the way of memorable dining." An extensive menu, excellent service, exquisite cuisine and to-die-for desserts made for some excellent Italian dining and a wonderful evening! (4.0 Zins)

1: Maxwell's at the Club - Chicago
(original review 4-30-09)

Most people who know me, know that I am a stickler for attention to detail and that I am duly impressed when I see it in a restaurant. Let's start with service: "As a simple example, Lauren left the table briefly to powder her nose. No sooner had she departed than our waiter appeared and, without notice or fanfare of any sort, quickly and quietly re-folded her napkin and placed it back on the table." It would certainly be no surprise then, that Maxwell's should appear on this list. But it wasn't just the service - it was every aspect of the evening that was impressive: from start to finish. Exquisite, professional, perfect. Hats off to GM Charles Reid, Executive Chef, Mike Lodes and all the staff at Maxwell's at the Club! (5.0 Zins)

1: Tramonto's - Wheeling
(original review 5-09-09)

Most of the time, you get what you pay for; sometimes, you get more... at Tramonto's, that is exactly the case. As I stated in my review: "the quality of food and service at this popular steak and seafood house is way beyond what you will find at most dining destinations, save for those few that are beyond the means of most diners." Having said that, I will tell you that Tramonto's is not, by any means, an inexpensive place to dine. However, the exemplary food, marvelous plating, and outstanding service will definitely make the experience worth your while. Looking back, I find it next to impossible to determine which restaurant stands alone as the best -- and so, for the first time, two outstanding venues will share the top spot. (5.0 Zins)

Thanks Ralph!

Read about the rest of Ralph Pancetta's favorite restaurants and other reviews for 2009 here.
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