With most of the profiles in this column, I'm fortunate enough to go to restaurants through arranged visits. This allows me to sometimes interview chefs and related staff, but also puts the onus on restaurants to really bring their A-games to warrant positive outcomes ( although they should do that for everyone, anyway ).
I wrote the preceding bit because one gets the impression that Acadia ( 1639 S. Wabash Ave; AcadiaChicago.com ) brings its A-game with every patron.
Acadia was one of the few restaurants in Chicago to garner two Michelin stars when the latest ratings were released ( with only two spots, Alinea and Grace, getting three stars )and it's easy to see why.
The restaurant has two options if you're in the dining room: five- and 10-course options. ( The front bar has a separate menu, including the acclaimed burger. ) Drinks started well, with me getting a refreshing Bosc Pear mocktail and my friend getting a kicky, truffle-garnished cocktail called Death by Astonishment.
Calling our dinner five courses is a bit deceptive. There were canapes, and even a pre-dessert palate cleanser of pear. Some of the many highlights included mini-sandwiches ( lobster roll, razor clam, etc. ), Thai peanut soup with a mirepoix delicately set in a spoon, Deer Island lobster surrounded by onion petals, chestnut puree with black truffle ( probably my favorite ), Berkshire pork belly with sassafras and butternut squash, and elegantly presented macarons.
The only drawback is that the stereotype of small dishes at upscale spots rings true herealthough I understand the point is to savor each bite. One dish consisted of a single small rabbit-pheasant ravioli ( and the server poured chicken consomme over it ).
However, there's no mistaking that the experience at Acadia was very elegant, and highlighted by impeccable service ( with servers bringing a brand-new napkin each time someone leaves the table, and with them even asking if they should call taxi service ). Go if you have a big celebrationyou'll be impressed.