Chicago – 2/17/17 – Bad Hunter and elske

Bad Hunter

I had heard mixed reviews of Bad Hunter But I’m very glad that I decided to check it out.  For lunch I absolutely love the menu. Everything was fantastic and I am sure it is even better in the summer with the patio open.


carrots & fennel – pistachio-green Chile pesto, avocado cream, queso fresco

smoked salmon tartine – Meyer lemon creme fraiche, celery root, vadouvan


Elske

I hope that the west loop does not soon run out of real estate with the number of restaurants continuing to open there. Elske is yet another fantastic addition and if the duck liver tart was on the a la carte menu it would be very dangerous.

tea of lightly smoked fruits and vegetables

creamed parsnip with osetra caviar

duck liver tart with buckwheat and salted ramps

leeks vinaigrette with toasted oats, olives and blue mound cheddar

confit bass with white beans, charred squash broth and shaved shiitakes

Our additions to the tasting menu which unfortunately I do not have descriptions of


grilled leg of lamb with broccoli, pickled ramps and butter fried almonds

citrus sundae with toasted milk, barley malt caramel and satsuma

Chicago – 1/29/17 – the Bristol

The Bristol is one of the first places I dined at when I started making frequent trips to Chicago many years ago.  Happily it is still as good as it was back then and has a really excellent brunch.  Just as the raviolo is a must-order at dinner, do not miss the cinnamon roll at brunch.  It’s as dangerous as the Moscow mules.


Chicago – 1/28/17 – Alinea Kitchen Table

There are a multitude of reasons that Alinea continues to be my favorite restaurant. As many times as I have been there I am always completely surprised by something new. And I always think back to my first visit quite a long time ago which was the first time I dined alone at a ‘nice’ restaurant. I was so nervous that my hand shook until I had finished my initial glass of champagne. But the experience was perhaps the beginning of my career as a ‘professional’ in conquering a very long tasting menu and I have never felt uncomfortable dining alone since.

I am not sure that I will be able to return to the dining room after this dinner at the kitchen table. I saw the space on my last visit but seeing it and sitting in it are quite different. Just completely fantastic especially with a great group of friends. I very much enjoyed again the dishes that I had previously – especially the scallop, corn, butter that I want several bowls of.  While it is not a substitute for black truffle explosion, the gruyere/black truffle/pumpernickel was delicious and filled the void.  And perhaps my favorite of the night was the very understated parmesan/pea/jamon iberico.  Until next time….




osetra, king crab, condiments

quince, parmesan, date

scallop, corn, butter

cornbread, nori

cider, orange, maple

yuzu

parmesan, pea, jamon iberico


kuzu, pompano, shellfish

pork belly, curry, banana

rosemary, hamachi, kombu

blueberry, lapsang souchong, maitake


mastic, concord

*foie

gruyere, black truffle, pumpernickel

short rib, bitter cocoa, cassis

wagyu, rice, myoga

sweet potato, chocolate, miso

bubble gum, cake, banana



chocolate, cherry, bourbon


sesame, brown butter, gold

Chicago – 1/27/17 – Roister and the Loyalist

Roister
When I finally get caught up on my blog I may need to stop the Roister posts as there will be too many.  I feel guilty typing it but we may have had the whole menu x2 (some photos missing) plus a few off-the-menu extras (thank you Chef!).  My previous go-to lunch spots are out the window.



Hushpuppies, corn crema, sour corn, manchego


Hushpuppies, corn crema, sour corn, manchego

Roasted beets, endive tangerine, blue cheese

Chicken noodle soup, mirepoix, meatball, soft cooked egg

Smoked oysters, garlic butter, breadcrumbs

Anson mills grits, key west pink shrimp, crab curry, thai basil

Fried chicken sandwich, sunchoke hot sauce, chamomile mayo

Biscuits and gravy, hearth roasted eggs, green tomato ragout, swiss

Loyalist
Love the people, service, and food.  But I must admit that I feel the burger was overhyped.  Perhaps the fault of my Facebook friends and not the burger.


Winter squash, burrata, pickled honeycrisp

The Loyalist cheeseburger & fries

Apple upside-down cake, sunflower anglaise, creme fraiche

Chicago – 12/3/16 – Mott Street

I really enjoyed my previous visit to Mott St. but his time unfortunately not so much.  It was so loud that I could barely hear my dinner companion and by the end of the meal my throat hurt from shouting and I craved silence.  I am able to get past noise issues when the food is worth it, but in this case it just was not.  Not offensive but average.

Cauliflower

Everything wings

Imperial Rolls

(Apologies as have forgotten what this one is)

Szechuan and pepper shrimp

Chicago – 12/2/16 – Oriole

I am so far behind that since this dinner there have been several additional glowing reviews of Oriole.  There isn’t much I can add to those so to sum it up, I concur and absolutely loved it.  Fantastic food, space, service and wine.  And while often overlooked , 2 amazing bread courses.

Golden Osetra Caviar, coconut dashi, lychee and sea grape

Langoustine spring roll with shio kombu, calamansi and mint

Kampachi nigiri with yuzu kosho and genmai

Beef tendon puffed with wagyu tartare and shaved matsutake

Beausoleil oyster, iberico consomme and smoked finger lime

Cardinal prawn, iberico lardo, meyer lemon and fennel


Jamon iberico de bellota, black walnut, egg yolk and campo de montalban

Sea urchin emulsion with bay scallop, cauliflower and anise hyssop

Capellini, white alba truffle, rye berry and yeast

Sourdough, cultured butter, caraway and local grains

Japanese A5 wagyu, charred little gem, furikake and sesame leaf

Lemon tea sorbet with hibiscus, asian pear and bitter greens

Croissant, raclette, apple butter and cardamom

Pistachio gelato with elderflower and puffed rice

Mignardieses

Pie to go

Chicago – 9/17/16 – mfk and Next French Laundry

mfk.
Yet another fantastic brunch at mfk.  I am always baffled as to why this place is not packed at this time of day.  Chicago friends you really need to put it in regular rotation!

ceviche, poblano guacamole, squid ink tostada

shrimp and cucumber aguachile, jicama, avocado

chioggia beets, basil, aged goat cheese, orange yogurt

roasted and chilled cauliflower, almond, red onion, xato

pqm bread service, caramelized shallot butter, radishes

seafood fideous, toasted vermicelli, piperade, saffron

albondigas pork & veal, grana padano polenta, tomato jam

Next: French Laundry
Having the Next French Laundry menu to look forward to helped me to get past the letdown of my French Laundry meal a week before being over.  Its amazing that the dishes on this menu are 20 years old.  They are delicious and still completely relevant.  The French Laundry influenced dozens of chefs since it opened and fine dining has evolved in many ways.  I love the evolution but at the same time I would eat these dishes everyday if I could.  This was absolutely lovely and one of reasons I love Next for allowing me to experience what was before my time.

cornet of atlantic salmon

carrot soup

black trumpet mushroom soup

gulf shrimp and avocado salsa

blinis with peppers and bottarga

barbecue eel with sesame and yuzu

salmon chop

black truffle custard

oysters and pearls – sabayon of pearl tapioca with island creek oysters and golden osetra caviar

tomato salad – yellow tomato sorbet, basil infused oil and brioche crouton

agnolotti – butternut squash, quince and madras curry

pompano “amandine” – orzo, pole beans and preserved meyer lemon

atlantic cod – clam chowder, celery and bacon

sweet butter poached lobster – pommes maxim, melted leeks and beet essence

five-spiced lobster – port poached figs and moulard duck foie gras

“roulade” of duck breast – creamed white corn, huckleberries and chanterelle mushrooms

rabbit “saddle” – applewood smoked bacon with pruneaux d’agen, caramelized fennel and fennel oil

“pot au feu” – beef short rib with root vegetables and sauteed bone marrow

lamb – thyme, tarragon and dried beans

chaource – red plums, chive oil and lolla rossa

roquefort – trifle with french butter pear relish

“verjus” sorbet – peach butter and mint infused oil

“coffee and donuts” – cappuccino semifreddo with cinnamon sugar donuts

mignardises