Housed in River North is a gem of a restaurant inside the former IBM building.
Travelle KItchen + Bar ( 330 N. Wabash St.; TravelleChicago.com ), part of the Langham Chicago hotel, offers a sleek decor and some cool views of the citybut there's much more than that. Chef de Cuisine Ricardo Jarquin, Pastry Chef Scott Green and Beverage Director Priscilla Young have combined their talents to make one's visit to Travelle a memorable one.
Even if you don't wish to take in a full dinner, the bar ( complete with wonderful food and extensive cocktail menus ) is worth visiting post-work. However, should you wish to partake of a full lunch or dinner, you're bound to be in for a treat. ( I've got to check out brunch here sometime soon. )
Start with the warm asiago bread with whipped 'nduja butter and local honeythe combo is enough to make the most carb-phobic person indulge ( at least for a couple minutes ). The charred tar ( tenderloin, aioli, fried quail eggs and truffle oil ) was solidly done, and the chicken and waffles had a different spin, thanks to the maple syrup that contains the unexpected addition of pickle brine. ( Trust meit works. )
Other standout starters include the chilled English pea soup ( with lump crab, cucumber and yuzu ) and the gnocchi ( which I originally wanted to avoid because of the rabbit sausagethe result of a bad experience at another restaurant ).
Among the wonderful entrees are the parsley and lemon risotto ( with prawns and fennel fronds ) as well as the pork and clams ( another unexpected combo that somehow worksvery well ).
Also, if there's any room for dessert, please try it. The mocha bombe ( with mascarpone mousse and espresso anglaise ) was lovely, but I fell in love with the banana-and-peanut butter pot de creme.
If there's any drawback, it'syou guessed itthe prices of some of the items. ( For example, cocktails run $14-$25 for most, with the Blood and Sandwith Glenmorangie Signet Scotch and Grand Marnier Cuvee 1880running a cool $60. ) However, I still highly recommend Travelle, which joins a select group of spots that's defying the cliche of the hotel restaurant.