It’s not often I track down 2-Michelin star restaurants when dining on vacay so this super short trip to Chicago last week was made that much sweeter by the visit to Elliot’s namesake establishment in the heart of Chi-town.

Who is Graham Elliot?

I’m sure many of you recognize his moniker from MasterChef, Top Chef Masters, Iron Chef, and multiple James Beard Foundation nominations, but what you probably don’t know is that Elliot garnered so much attention this year with an extra Michelin star (added to his previous 1 star in 2011 and 2012) that the restaurant even hosted an intimate birthday dinner for President Obama himself. Oh yeaaaaaah, sounds like the swanky kind of joint I’m totally into!

Graham Elliot

217 W. Huron St. | Chicago, IL 60654  | (312) 624-9975

The Vibe

Refined yet unpretentious, the clean modern interior is totally not what you’d expect from all that star power, but celebrities and locals alike frequent the spot for Elliot’s take on fine dining with an artistic culinary twist.  Eat your heart out lovers!

On the Menu

Lollipop starters

A perfect balance of flavors to cleanse the palette before 19 courses of pure decadence!

Salmon

Their take on bagels and lox. I love smoked salmon so this pinky-sized portion was all I needed to get the flavor packed in just one bite. Such a focused effort for something so teensy!

Radish

Beautiful presentation of all the radishes in season…fresh and tangy, I could start off all meals this way….

Spot Prawn

My FAVE dish of the night! That avocado schmear was cut to precise perfection! Nary a line out of skew and prawns served 2 ways impressed me to the core. A little caviar never hurt anyone, right??

Octopus

It wasn’t quite as charred and crispy as I’d like and the smoky flavors overpowered the dish; however the presentation was stellar. So much so that I instagrammed the *ish outta this stunna and received rave oohs and ahhhss…

Carrot

Chilled soup with marcona almond crunch. So nutty so gooooooood! Now I crave cold carrot juice all the time. Handful of honeyed nuts on the side and I could re-create this sucka with some Naked and it’s ON! ;D

Cucumber

Sorbet tastes like it looks…fresh and healthy.

Foie

Their take on a fancy fig newton. Fresh fig paste sandwiched between a luscious creamy cut of round foie gras. Since SoCal banned this baby, I take all I can get! Ingenious concept, incredible presentation!

Halibut

The BEST Halibut I’ve ever had in my life! The fish was cooked perfectly and those homemade halibut noodles had me wondering what else they could make with just one protein…

Morel

Mushrooms served with fresh dungeness crab. At this point I was sooooo FULL so anything heartier than the fish above I forced down along with some cava. Not my favorite dish since I’m not a fan of the spongy fungi but a definite substitute for a meat dish…eh, next!

Snail

With risotto and crispy rice. You can’t tell but the little chunks of snail were peppered throughout the rice. You get hit with that woodsy fragrance first then slammed with the creamy texture. So rich and vibrant, what I imagine summers in Provence would taste like.

Lamb

Served with purple potatoes and mash. Too bland for my taste, the protein could have used a tad more seasoning but by this time I didn’t care…I was craving desserts already!

Intermezzo moving onto the desserts!

Epoisses

Unpasteurized cows milk cheese served with nuts and honey. OMG I’ve died y’all. Literally DIED as the server scooped a dollop onto my bowl and I nearly fell over from the fumes. Now I want this dish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner…and dessert. Mix it all up: Heaven in a bowl!

Strawberry

Cheesecake, sorbet, and yogurt-covered served with pistachio sponge cake. Beautiful summer presentation, light, bright, and refreshing paired with the milk crackers.

Death by CHOCOLATE!

Peppermint lollipops

Closing Thoughts

All-in-all I felt the culmination of the experience coupled with the stellar presentation outshined the cuisine itself. The most memorable dishes for me were the prawns and the melt-in-yo-mouth, I-could-die-and-call-this-my-last-meal cheese bowl. The desserts seriously had some points of sheer brilliance with the chocolate plate containing more than 15 various elements and the strawberry perfected to showcase a myriad of techniques and flavors. If you’re looking for a fun-filled 3 hour meal that’s ALL about culinary skill and prowess, you’re sure to find it here at Graham Elliot.

Know Before You Go

They take same day reservations but be forewarned, these spots book up fast. Come early with a party of no more than 4 people and enjoy the Chef’s tasting menu which may include little extras that they add just for kicks. As traditional tasting menus go, all guests must order from the same menu (Tasting 12 courses/Chef’s 20 courses) but tell your friends this doesn’t come cheap. At $165 a pop you’d bet I’d lick the plate right down to the porcelain hunnies!*

*NOTE: As of 2016, Graham Elliot Chicago has been closed for renovation. Slated to open with a fresh new concept in 2017*

Bon appétit mes amis!

 

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7 Comments

  1. awe! you were in my city! wish i had bumped into you on the street to tell you how gorgeypants you always are on your blog! hope you had a good trip!

    XX. LC

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