The Trump Tower's sixteenth floor restaurant, Sixteen (401 North Wabash Avenue) was chosen for the spectacular and unusual perspective on one of the city's architectural icons -- The Wrigley Building. The view is a favorite of mine and I love to share it with visitors because the reach-out-and-touch-it closeness never fails to impress. This week, Executive Chef Thomas Lents achieved the remarkable. He made me avert my eyes from my direct view of the Wrigley Clock Tower and become equally enchanted with the scrumptious and quirky meal laid before me.
My intrepid dining companions and I chose different paths through the Chef's Tasting menu -- a definite splurge. The options were intriguing enough to make us gamble on a new-to-us chef. Highlights included an amuse bouche of Lake Michigan Smelt, served on a clear plate over pressed flowers and sand that managed to evoke memories of long walks on the beach even as it delighted the taste buds. The foie gras course was a densely textured marvel coated in fruity sangria. My langoustine was served over a sweet, frothy corn veloute and came adorned with a sliver of edible gold leaf -- though it added nothing in taste, it was a thrill. The perfectly poached halibut gained zing from a savory curry sauce, while the veal course was served with a molecular gastronomic precision I hadn't seen since Michael Carlson's Schwa. Each bite of fleischnacka was savored.
The palette cleanser of fresh figs came atop a bubbling cauldron of dry ice that boiled, toiled and troubled atop our table as we ate. It was a culmination of story told in food -- a climactic chapter before Chef closed the book with his decadent desserts. My sweet was the bee pollen and raspberry, a deconstructed cobbler broken into its essentials: crumble, cream and tangy fruit. Others indulged in the dense dark chocolate course, paired with parsnip gelato and a dusting of potato chips. Clearly, Chef knows that salty and sweet belong together.
Many of the tasty menu choices could be found on the a la carte menu as well as the tasting menus. If you can't swing a meal at Sixteen, I strongly recommend bringing guests for a glass of wine or a bottle of craft beer in the adjacent lounge while you take in the view. It won't be long before you start plotting a return visit for dinner and exploration of Chef's cuisine.
While my out of town guest gushed over the setting, it was the tasting menu framed the evening. It's great when you can ooh and ahh over the view and the meal. Go to Sixteen for both.