I actually mean this in the best possible way, but Fulton Market Kitchen ( 311 N. Sangamon St.; FultonMarketKitchen.com ) is almost an assault on the senses.
If you're looking for a dark, quiet restaurant, this isn't itat least in the lounge ( although there are some darker but no less striking rooms ). Fulton Market Kitchen is a combination art gallery/restaurant, and the artwork and cuisine are both standouts.
As for the art, it's varied and mesmerizing. There are thought-provoking paintings ( most for sale ), murals, installations and more. ( Be sure to check out the suitcase installation at the main baractually, the installation IS part of the bar. ) Even the chandeliers are works of art ( and they made me think of the artist who once told me that life is art ). There's also a second-floor event space that features paintings as well as a group of paintbrushes that iswait for itartfully suspended from the ceiling.
The cuisine is just as bold and eye-pleasing as the art. Our server, Jelly ( yes, that's her name ), skillfully explained the menu. ( It seemed odd that a place with so many visual attractions had relatively few menu options, but that doesn't mean they're not well done. )
The foie mousse was enough to make me want to return. The foie gras was molded with mandarin orange jelly to look like an actual orangeand you just cut into it and spread it on your accompanying sourdough. It was pure heaven.
However, there were other tantalizing dishes as well. The beef cheeks ( with English peas, fava beans, wild mushrooms, yuzu and beet jus ) had a deep flavor, and the pork shoulder was just as captivating. Also, my dining companion loved her venison ( with blackberry gastrique, salt roasted root vegetables and pickled morels ).
Top off everything with either the butter cake or the cookies-and-cream combo ( the latter an amalgam of black cocoa fudge cake, vanilla bean mousse and samba chocolate sauce ).
Prepare to be amazed.
Note: Restaurant profiles/events are based on invitations arranged from restaurants and/or firms.