Winter Menu 2015
Food in Progress
Modern Fine Dining: Moving Forward with Respect to the Past
Started off with a glass of NV Cattier 'Brut Antique' Premier Cru, Champagne, France
Snacks: In Search of "New": Cuisines: The Emergence of the Nordic
Buckwheat and rutabaga blini with peppered mackerel and radish
Marinated cuttlefish with beet, sea weeds, and trout roe
Smoked oyster, potato gel, and horseadish
King crab with carrot, sea buckthorn, and dill
Amuse Bouche: The Remains of a Spanish Movement: Flavors Left From a Technical
Langoustine in its shell, chorizo, pine nut and citrus
Variations of onion, cipollini petals and caramelized jus with bacon, sourdough, and cultured butter
Bread and butter paring: Ciabetta? with goat's milk butter
A Gift: The Humility of Broth: A Pursuit of the Purity of Flavor
Scallop in its shell with salt roasted kohlrabi and a scallop truffle dashi
Second Course: Mining Traditions: What is Old is New Again
Grilled lobster on rice with uni and coffee
Bread and butter paring: Washington beer bread with cow's milk from Normandy
A Gift: Whole Animal Conservation: Nose to Tail Fine Dining
Bone marrow custard with cornered veal and flavors and gribiche
Deviled kidneys with parsley root and foam
Veal tongue blanquette
Black Truffle Pilsner
Main Course: A New Fusion: Forward Thinking with Respect for Tradition
Fallow venison with funnel, red fruits, farro, and butter milk with a hibiscus and current jus
Bread and butter paring: Pretzel and goat milk
2nd service Venison cheek with fourchette sweet potato and green curry coco blanc
Quadrello di Butala, Pecorino Foglie DiNoce, Pecorino Ginepro, L'Amuse Brabander Goat Gouda
Pineapple, celery, and mint granite
Mango, quark, and chocolate gateau
Papaya and guava spritzer
White chocolate and ginger namelaka with blood orange
Chocolate cake with pecan, coconut, and kaffir lime
I don't say this too often but Sixteen is operating on a totally different level and it's a serious contender for a third Michelin star. I didn't have high expectations when arriving but at the end of the meal, I was literally speechless. One of the highlights of the meal wasn't even a course. It was...
Since I live in "Craft Beer Capital of America", my server was kind enough to give me a sample of a $120 bottle of beer, Moody Tongue's Black Truffle Pilsner.
It was amazing. I'm actually considering ordering this the next time I'm here.
The second highlight was the bread and butter paring. Normally, bread is served at the beginning of the meal and the butter is often overlooked. At Sixteen, the various cow and goat milk butters that were served complimented the bread paring perfectly.
Overall, I feel the courses were aligned for a two-Michelin star establishment. What makes Chef Lents stand out in Chicago is he's creating his own lane. For example, when I dine at Alinea, I see elBulli. At Grace, I see Alinea. While their dishes are different, the influence is obvious. At Sixteen, I assume I will get the French Laundry or Joel Robuchon but I was completely wrong. The influences are from all over the place. This is refreshing because I feel that I won't experience the same courses season after season. It sort of forces you to want to come here every season to experience a total different menu.
Will Sixteen ever get a third star? I think so. It's going to come down to service and decor. Of all of the 3-starred Michelin restaurants that I've been to around the world, most had great spaces with high-end furnishings and amazing interiors. I joke about this but a 3-star Michelin restaurant feels like you need a 781 credit score to walk into the door.
Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago
401 N. Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611