The famed Michelin Restaurant Guide announced their Chicago ratings this past week and again left out one of our cities most respected and recognized bastions of fine French Cuisine, Les Nomades at 222 East Ontario. They're doing fine without a nod from Michelin but you do wonder why they're being ignored and who else is being snubbed?
Les Nomades became our favorite downtown restaurant when it opened in 1978. The famed Chicago restaurateur Jovan Trboyevic who ran Chicago's top fine dining establishment, Le Perroquet, was famous for asking customers to leave when they became noisy or read newspapers at the table. He'd rip up their bill and tell them never to return. So he created Les Nomades as a private club so he could have complete control. Dues were $1 a year. The rules were strict, especially loud talking and table hopping. I remember one night when popular NBC news anchor Floyd Kalber and his wife, while leaving their table, stopped at ours and he spoke, "I don't care what Jovan says, good to see you, Roy." They then moved on.
In 1993 Roland and Mary Beth Liccioni bought Les Nomades and soon it was open to the public, but the ambiance and high quality food have remained. Even with changes in the kitchen, calling upon their previous experience at Le Francais in Wheeling and Carlos in Highland Park they have continued to offer outstanding food in a warm and romantic atmosphere.
Dining at Les Nomades is an experience you will long remember. Why the Michelin folks continue to ignore them is beyond me.
Filed under: Opinion