CHICAGO, IL, USA
PRICE PAID: $251 pp (includ. champagne + wine)
FINAL SCORE: 9.0/10
For my very first review, Trump Tower's Sixteen restaurant is the perfect place to start. I know it's got a "mere" two Michelin stars, but let's work our way up to that, shall we? With five AAA diamonds and a Forbes five-star rating, this place comes very close.
The front and back of the house were totally in sync, the wintery views from the floor-to-ceiling windows were breathtaking, and the wait staff were charming and 0% snooty. Here are six reasons you'll have a good time here:
1) They seem to actually care about the humans who make the restaurant work. Chef Thomas Lents crafted a seasonal menu that pays tribute to the people who inspired and taught his team. Some of this is name-dropping- "guess who worked with Joel Robuchon, you guys?"- but mostly it felt sincere. Profile photos of those people adorned the walls and menus.
2) The Oyster with cider gelee you start with is the best oyster I have had in the Midwest. Salty and creamy, and charmingly presented on a massive plate... That plate gets its top level removed to reveal....
3) A sub-plate! With two more small bites! How clever. This one had Xo cracker, shrimp sausage, and ginger- practically exploding with taste, and an edible flower to boot.
4) Have you ever wondered what a lime ice salad tastes like? Well, wonder no longer, because Sixteen makes them. This creative and beautifully presented dish (with chopped ice shards forming the backdrop) was refreshing and tasted like fresh-from-the-garden vegetables. A nice break in January.
5) The main dish was a rarity in the fine dining world- enough food that you actually felt full. I chose the Poussin roasted in hay, hazelnut, onion, and apple vinegar. Though there were other courses worth mentioning, this one stood out for the clean presentation and the heartiness of the dish.
6) Dessert kicked it out of the park. An apple cake with maple yogurt, fenugreek ice cream, and lemon balm. Solid black plate nicely set off the bright colors of the fruit and dairy, the tastes matched perfectly.