EL Ideas



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2419 W 14th St , Chicago, IL 60608
University Village
Style:Phillip Foss


Things You Should Know: We are taking requests for tables Wed-Sat seating anywhere from 2-16 guests. We do not take odd-numbered reservation requests. -Cost of our progressive tasting menu is $135 -Be prompt. Service begins at 7pm sharp. Those arriving late will receive the current dish in the menu's progression and may not be able to enjoy dishes served prior to their arrival. SCHEDULE NOTES: Wednesday seating is at 8pm only. Saturday seatings are @ 5:30 and 9:30. -EL Ideas is BYOB. No corkage fee. -Food allergies will be observed when possible, but unfortunately we are not able to accommodate dietary preferences. -Enter our reservation lotto by filling out the form below or calling (312) 226-8144. Please keep in mind that as this is a lotto you might not be contacted, but if there's a table open and your name is picked we'll give you a call. -TIP: Even though tables are generally booked months in advance, every now-and-then someone will cancel. In this case, we will send out emails to our entire lottery pool and the first to respond is awarded the table. We are NOT a ‘pop up' or ‘underground' restaurant. We have already popped and are very much above the ground... ‘Back Alley ELegance', would describe us better than anything else. Please remember that as this is a very new and unique business model, flexibility as we define ourselves is greatly appreciated. This said, it is our unwavering ambition to provide the finest in cuisine and most interactive services all in one of the most unique settings in Chicago. Hope you can come along for the ride!

Menu:Recent Reviews

profile image Time to Get Elevated

Tucked away on the corner of absolutely nowhere and the ghetto is a restaurant where imagination has no limitations and rules are meant to be broken. The dead end road leads to an eclectic space with exposed brick, cork drapes and an open kitchen. The 18-seat restaurant creates a unique experience where every table is essentially a chef's table. Welcome to EL Ideas where guests are encouraged to walk around the kitchen, interact with the chefs and have fun. Getting a reservation was fairly simple, but I did have to wait about a month for an available spot which gave me plenty of time to get excited. This BYOB spot constantly changes their menu so I sent an email two days before our dinner asking for some beverage recommendations. I was guided to different pairings including a bubbly, white and red. The suggestions were all available at Binny's, tasted amazing and paired beautifully with each course. We were invited to dine at 7:30pm as there is only one seating. All the dishes are prepared and served together. Every dish was an experience. There were modern interpretations of classic dishes and fun surprises in others. The flavors blended seamlessly with one another and had us craving more. Before our first course, I joked about not having any silverware and eating with our fingers. When our first course was served, we were instructed to pick up our plates and lick them. No silverware was to be provided and using your fingers would be frowned upon. Amazing. Thank you for making fine dining fun and playful! After giggling to ourselves, we picked up our plates and liked them clean. I'm not very graceful with licking my plate, and I managed to get caviar on my nose. Fun times. Here's a little of our journey through EL Ideas: Roe: coconut/goji/carrot Shima Aji: cucumber/matsutake/plankton Hamachi: apple/leeks/black garlic This next course made my mouth sing hallelujah! Pop Rocks are used in the dish to create a tingling sensation. Love. Foie Gras: autumn olives/muscat/pistachio I wish Sunday Funday served buffalo chicken like this! This was an amazing interpretation of a classic favorite. Chicken: buttermilk/hot sauce/dill I wanted to eat everyone's spoon full of this delicious bone marrow raviolo. Raviolo: marrow/marmalade/egg Pork: etouffee/parmesan/guanciale Cruciferous: brocoli/kohlrabi/cauliflower Duck: study in purple Surf and Turf: crab/salsify/horseradish Pumpkin: pear/date/rooibos Take 5: peanut/beer/chocolate Overall, it was an amazing experience that I would recommend to anyone! Don't wait for a special occasion... just go eat here!

profile image Unique fine dining with potential

I was invited to dine at El with a good friend who writes for the food industry. I didnt really know what I was "in for". What transpired was a very pleasant surprise. Chef Foss, formerly of Lockwood and Meatyballs, was extremely cordial and welcomed all guests at the onset of the meal to his "dinner party". The dining room is simply a small sectioned off area of the kitchen. While we were there, 12 were in attendance. Everyone eats each course together and is free to get up and wander into the kitchen to watch the guys prepare. The presentation of each course is stunning, clearly trained well in this area. We had a 13 course meal, and each course was reasonably sized to allow you to make it through! I wont go through each course, but I would say about 75% of the menu was amazing. The remaining 25% needs some work. Sometime flavors come together in ways I've never experienced (Everything Bagel) and other times it's overpowering and heavy handed. Dessert needs some attention, but again the presentation was amazing.... rose petal essence under a bowl of chocolate cake, raspberries and rose ice cream. Everything is very casual, and it's byob. The server was great, and played background music from his own itunes collection, very fun. Overall a fantastic experience! Foss is still working out the menu, and in a few months I cant wait to go back to see where it has gone! While the location is very obscure, it's worth the journey to try this different take on a restaurant.

profile image Extremely unique dining experience

I have heard that dining here is like being invited to a friend's dinner party...except those friends happen to be extremely talented chefs. I would agree. This is by far one of the most exciting and unique dining experiences that I have had in recent memory, because it is intended to be interactive. The kitchen is entirely open, and you are invited to come in and watch Chef Foss and Chef Brochu prepare and plate these intricate courses. This tiny restaurant seats about 10 people, is BYOB with incredible service, and serves highly creative food. I found that the majority of the courses were incredibly beautifully presented, but had ONE element that I could have done without. I would compare it to seeing an incredible outfit that just has ONE too many accessories. I found there to be usually one thing on the plate that generally conflicted with the other delicious flavors that had been meshing quite well. I would recommend it, but at $125 per person not including tax or tip, I would personally sooner try another restaurant.