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Stars Are Born on "Check Please"

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 29, 2007 4:00PM


Fans of "Check Please" missed one doozy of an episode last weekend, one that perfectly encapsulated the appeal and genius of the show. The episode, which reviewed Lincoln Park raw food hot spot Karyn's Fresh Corner, Lincolnwood steakhouse Myron & Phil's, and Chicagoist 2006 favorite Haro, was spurred to must-see status by the staunch opinions and sharp tongues of retired lawyer Fred Solomon (pictured, left) and model Manase Latu (right). The stage was set when Solomon said of Haro, recommended by third panelist Olga Camargo, "the portions left a lot to be desired" and complained about not being able to share four pieces of food equally among six people. In response, Latu intimated that he thought Solomon was the type of diner who would "rather share a sub sandwich." However, the sparks between Solomon and Latu really began to fly when the focus shifted to Latu's recommendation, Karyn's.

Regarding the concept of raw food in general, and Karyn's stuffed pizza in particular, Solomon told Latu, "we found fire a couple million years ago, and I think we should use it." The camera then did a quick cut to a stunned Latu, who looked like he hadn't considered the possibility of somone not agreeing with his tastes in food. Solomon and Latu engaged in a friendly but spirited discussion about raw food as a health-conscious choice (Latu's position) versus a religion (Solomon's) in which host Alpana Singh eventually had to intercede.

When the time came to discuss Solomon's choice — and just take a wild guess at what he recommended — both Latu and Camargo said that it wasn't necessarily a place they would bring their friends, noting the large presence of seniors during their respective visits to the restaurant. Camargo said that Myron & Phil's atmosphere was "old school," to which Latu drolly added, "reaaalll." Later on, when Latu lamented about the flavor of his filet, Solomon asked why he didn't "try the green goddess salad." It was an earnest question by Solomon, but the high-pitched guffaw from Latu also indicated that he took it to be a crack at his effete demeanor. All in all, there appeared to be no harm, no foul between the two, and it made for twenty-two minutes of entertaining television. If you find it on repeat or on-demand, watch it.