It seems that a lot of hotels are undergoing renovations.
Last week, I discussed the Ritz-Carlton's makeover as well as the highs and lows of its Italian steakhouse, Torali. This week, it's all about the new Talbott Hotel and its restaurant, fittingly called 20 East ( 20 E. Delaware Pl.; www.20eastchicago.com ).
However, the number "20" could also describe the number of dollars ( in millions ) put into renovating the Talbott, a Joie de Vivre property, earlier this year. The project has resulted in a spot that, at least on the first floor ( where the restaurant is located ), seems a lot airier/lighter than it previously did.
It's also resulted in 20 East, a spot that's modern and elegant, with a menu that's unabashedly American. The menu is probably one of the more basic I've seen in quite some time in a place that's not a traditional dinerwhich means dishes should be executed very well, to say the least.
Fortunately, on that front, 20 East succeeds. Boards include smoked salmon ( with capers, cucumbers, pickled red onions, whipped cream cheese and Texas toast ) as well as grilled pita and hummus ( with extra virgin olive oil, sumac, olive, tomato and parsley ). Salads are also pretty basic, with slight twists; for example, the baby spinach salad contains dill, mint, green apple, gorgonzola cheese, sherry vinaigretteand sriracha cashews.
Sandwiches include a truffle patty melt that's simply swell ( to use an old-school term that fits the place ); the melt has caramelized onions and butter rkase cheese that's melted just right. Lobster roll, a mountainous turkey bacon club and a cheeseburger are among the other straightforward options offered ( but keep in mind that French fries, which come with garlic aioli, are extra ). However, there's even more on the menu, as there are large plates like Faroe Island salmon and crispy brick chickenagain, not exotic.
But save room for dessertand, if you're like me, you'll focus on a decadent, layered chocolate torte decorated with raspberries. It's the perfect way to end a meal at this welcome addition to the Gold Coast.
Note: Restaurant profiles/events are based on invitations arranged from restaurants and/or firms.