4 Levels of Lasagna

Bon appetit!

A Shame

Recently to celebrate a friends’ birthday, four friends and I went to eat at Bon Appetit, an Italian restaurant which used to be run by an Italian American married to a woman from Jinan. About a year ago he returned to the US so his children could have a better education.

The last time I went, which was a while back, the food was good, but the service wasn’t what it used to be. This time my food and the food that two of my friends ordered was fine. Unfortunately, two other friends got terrible food poisoning and were up all night in the bathroom. The birthday “girl” was so sick that she had to cancel classes the next day.

The last thing a restaurant should do is make people sick. I emailed them and never got a reply. I would have let this problem go, but I don’t want Bon Appetit to make other people sick. I wouldn’t wish food poisoning on anyone. Last weekend I got a Chinese friend to call them. The response was very disappointing. They insisted that none of the other guests got sick. Well, we were the only table in the restaurant that night. There were no other guests. We weren’t looking for freebies. I just wanted to tell them about a problem so they could correct it and build their business. I used to want to see them succeed. Now their defensiveness has completely turned me off. I’d never return to Bon Appetit, which used to be a gem.

Those days are over and neglect has ruined a once good restaurant.

Review: Club Lucky

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Club Lucky has a retro 1950s look and feel. It’s an Italian restaurant in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood. On Friday and Saturday it’s crowded and reservations are a must. We went on Sunday and getting a table is a breeze. (We did have reservations.) The menu features loads of appetizers, salads, pastas, seafood, steaks and poultry. My sister suggested we share a meatball salad, which sounded weird to me. Everyone liked it and it’s a new favorite for some. I’m not big on meatballs so I just had the salad and was satisfied.

I liked my chicken tortellini with English peas and vodka sauce. The serving could easily serve two. Other tempting dishes were the steak sandwich, roast chicken and fettucini with chicken, asparagus and roasted cherry tomatoes. We finished by sharing tiramisu, which was good, though not out of this world.

The service sufficed. Our waiter was polite, but missed the boat taking dessert orders. He later apologized explaining that he was detained giving people directions. We’d finished eating the birthday slice of tiramisu for my sister. While I probably would have ordered some dessert, that moment had passed and we were ready to go.

All in all, a fine place for Italian. Valet parking is $8. Good for groups or dates.

Bon Appetit, Jinan


NOTE: This restaurant’s management has changed and it’s gone to the dogs. Read my more recent review.

Last Friday was Sports Day. Usually, I love to take the day off and travel since it’s the only long weekend that isn’t a national holiday and thus there’s a chance that you won’t be with throngs of people. But we got so many polite invitations to participate in the shot put and various races that it seemed wrong to leave town.

I couldn’t bring myself to go to the event though. I’m just not into sports that much and I figure the kids don’t need us there, they are having their own fun.

So I went to Starbucks where I met the owner of Bon Appetit, a new Italian restaurant in the Lushang Shopping Center across from the older stadium. The chef/owner recognized me as did his son. We got a complementary size pizza as an appetizer. I split a thin crust vegetable pizza and my two other friends enjoyed pasta and salad. The portions were satisfying and the service attentive without being annoying. I was impressed by the good English most of the staff spoke. The prices were high for Jinan, but that’s to be expected for imported food and Bon Appetit imports the cheese, flour, etc from Naples. So if you split a pizza expect to pay 70 rmb and pasta and salad will be about 80-95 rmb. By U.S. standards that’s a bargain. The problem is we soon get used to Jinan prices and a Chinese meal in our neighborhood rarely costs more that 20 rmb.