Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chicago Nights: Dining

We haven't spent much time in Chicago over the last few months (we live in the far suburbs). With Holly getting Good Friday off from her company we figured a quick 2 night stay starting Thursday was a good idea. We usually find Chicago prices for hotels on Easter Weekend to be reasonable. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza, just off Michigan Ave and the Mag Mile, for under $100/ night. We had a great 35th floor southern view of Trump Tower and The Willis Tower.

Holly got a surprise on Thursday when she got her company's tickets to the Cub's Opening Day Game. She entertained her manager and 2 customers in the bitter cold of Wrigley's wind tunnel.

Dining Summary:

Sable: Thursday dinner - Small plates and a 16 page cocktail menu full of ingredients we didn't know. Keep Google handy when looking over the drink menu. It would feel insulting to order a Jack & Coke here. The bar/lounge area was nice and modern, but pretty packed. We had several small plate items like ribs, dates, bacon jam, etc. Items were good, and a few were actually large for the price, just not outstanding.

Sunda: Friday lunch - This place is high on the celebrity radar. Modern Asian food that can be shared (not necessarily small plates). Lunch menu is different from the dinner menu, but there are lots of great choices. After we ate lunch we moved to the bar to try a couple signature cocktails. All-around a great experience.

Going clockwise from top-left: Sunda Signature Sushi Kobe Beef tartare; Rock Shrimp Tempura with glazed walnuts and honey aioli; Nasi Goreng Fried Rice; BBQ Pork Belly Buns

Acadia: Friday dinner - This restaurant is in the South Loop, AKA an area we don't go to because it's out of the tourist corridor. They've been getting good press and everything we've seen online looked great. There's no sign outside (a couple of Chicago places do this). We got there before our reservation and went to the small bar area for a pre-dinner drink. This is yet another "art of the cocktail" place. Must be the trend. Hand-cracked ice and ingredients from eye-droppers. The whole restaurant was bright and monochromatic white. Pleasant.

We had read that they offered tasting menus and found that we could customize one with a wine pairing each course. We ordered 3 first course items and 3 second course items. Our amuse bouche was a homemade fruit soda. The menu changed a little from what is posted online so we will stick to generic descriptions:

We forgot to take a picture for course one, so we are borrowing a photo from definingtabitha.com. Peekytoe crab-filled zucchini blossom.

If we don't include a superlative about any menu item, just assume it was awesome.
On the top is potato and apple risotto. No rice in the risotto. Fantastic! Lower-left is pork belly with kraut and caraway pudding, bottom right is halibut (really wish the new menu was posted).

On the left is one of the biscuits served with sweet butter. This came before the halibut. Upper-right is stonington lobster pie. It is plated dry and the server pours lobster bisque around the plate. Lower-right is wagyu tri-tip.
We ordered dessert, but didn't have any room. We didn't even have it brought out. Everything was amazing.

When your bill comes it's accompanied by mini whoopie pies and caramels. Lower-left is a Brandy Coke Smash and lower-right was our parting gift of personal cakes.

David Burke's Primehouse: If that wasn't enough we decided to have a nice breakfast out before returning home. Primehouse was a nice relaxing place to do that. Service was good and efficient. Holly ordered the eggs benedict - which was served with a real spicy ham (kinda salami consistency), while Dave had the best pancakes of his life! Banana pancakes with caramelized bananas, pecans, strawberries, and brown sugar butter.

So those were the dining experiences of the weekend. We'll save the rest for a future post.

This upcoming weekend we go to St. Louis for the Go! St. Louis Marathon. As usual, Holly will be running and Dave will be snacking.

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