Saturday, February 1, 2014

Chicago - Galoshes and Michelin stars at Everest

Amanda and I returned from brunch and kronuts just in time to dress for . . . (can you guess it?) . . . dinner! 

We've been hooked on the Michelin Guide for years now and have been looking for an opportunity to bring Will and Susan (Amanda's parents) into our decadent ways.  Since Chicago is one of the three U.S. cities that Michelin deems worthy to rate, we figured this would be a great opportunity. 

Amanda made reservations for dinner at Everest, a swanky one-star restaurant perched on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange tower.  Fortunately, while making the reservation she noticed the restaurant's dress code -- emphatically no jeans, and jackets are encouraged but (technically) not required.  This posed a potential problem:  How does one tromp through Chicago's mucky streets and still look decent when you get to the restaurant? 

The answer:  Galoshes!
Especially when they come with a convenient little carrying case that can be handed
to the coat check along with coats and scarves and gloves.

Once inside and up the elevators (where the altitute caused our ears to pop), we discovered a high-glitz dining room full of mirrors and white linens and a view like no other.  At first the low clouds and falling snow obscured the distance, but then the snow broke and we could see the city lights stretching southward to the Mexican border.

Our waitress (who clearly should have been played by Jane Lynch) greeted us professionally and warmly.  She told us that she knew of our post-dinner theatre plans and would ensure that we had finished in time to make our 7:30 curtain; she would have a taxi waiting for us downstairs when we left.  From there, we ordered and the wonders of the evening began:
Amuse bouches (from left): Salmon in a nage of fennel; artichoke potage; pate;
emulsion of onion with bread crumbs and bacon
Slow-poached farm-fresh egg with cauliflower mousseline, topinambours
and black truffle
Roasted Maine Lobster in Alsace Gewurztraminer Butter and Ginger.
Magret of Mallard Duck, Pine Honey, Marinated Turnips à la Colmarienne
Alsace New Style Cheesecake, Lemon, Honey des Vosges
Miniardises (from left):  white chocolate with chocolate ganache filling;
dark mint chocolate with marshmallow filling;
almond/pistachio cake; citrus jelly
Hot chocolate hand crafted from Dominican cocoa beans
(so good!)

The meal was delicious.  I think consensus was that the amuse bouches and appetizers were the strongest in terms of wow factor (and there were multiple wows).  I particularly liked my duck entree, which was incredibly tender and flavorful and had been garnished with cracked cardamom instead of pepper.  The surprise of tasting cardamom (one of my favorite flavors) instead of pepper was delightful. 

The service as also impeccable.  Our waitress was attentive and efficient and stayed perfectly on top of the time, occasionally giving us updates so that never once did I feel the need to look at my watch.  And her flock of helpers made sure that there was never an empty glass or stray crumb on the table.  By the end, as we left to catch our taxi, we were bidden fond farewell by everyone from the waitress to the Maitre d' to the bartender with whom we'd never even interacted.  It kind of felt like we were in a musical -- I half-expected everyone to break out into song and tap dancing!

No comments: