Oriole - Chicago

Considering that Chicago is the world's 12th and the U.S.'s third most Michelin starred city with 22 combined stars, it's surprising that it took me so long to visit this spectacular world class culinary city for the first time. Keeping with the theme of firsts, as the taxi driver drove down the alley-like road, he commented that this was the first time he had been on Walnut Street, in the transforming West Loop neighborhood. Dropped off at what resembled the back of a warehouse, Oriole's entrance is just that, industrial. Greeted by a host who confirms reservations before allowing guests to enter, his podium opens up into a dry bar as he mixes a welcome drink and serves it in the lobby which was probably once a loading area. As guests sip their home made chai tea spiked with local brandy and apple cider wondering "where to now?" the host opens up what looks like a freight elevator door to reveal the restaurant's dinning room. The space is industrial with the kitchen taking almost half the space, leaving 28 seats for guests. Throughout the meal the open concept kitchen entices guests with escaping aromas, sights of smoke and sounds of kitchenware at work.

The contemporary complex tasting menu at Oriole is a mosaic of global flavors fusing seamlessly, from Russian caviar to Santa Barbara sea urchin and New Brunswick oysters to Spanish jámon. Chef & owner Noah Sandoval and his expertly trained team have earned two Michelin stars from the guide. The beverage program is just as exceptional, offering not only wine, but cocktail and non-alcoholic pairings for every course created by renowned mixologist, Julia Momrose. As you'll appreciate below, I'd like to recognize Oriole with Dined There, Sipped That outstanding lighting award! Please enjoy.

Golden Osetra Caviar, Cured Hamachi, Dill and Saffron

Left - Kampachi, Shiso Kombu, Okinawan Sea Salt
Right - Santa Barbara Sea Urchin, Nirigi with Yuzu Kosho, Genmai, Barrel Aged Soy

Left - Beausoleil Oyster, Mangalica Consommé, Finger Lime, Borage
Left - Jamón Mangalica, Black Walnut, Egg Yolk, Quince

Alaskan King Crab, Black Garlic Aguachile, Chicharrones, Wild Oregano

Razor Clam, Spring Onion, Artichoke, Smoked Roe

Cappellini, Summer Truffle, Puffed Wheat, Yeast Beurre Monté

Japanese A5 Wagyu, Ramp Soubise, Chestnut Royale, Sauce Bordelaise

Squab, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Smoked Black Pepper, Oxtails

Preserved Cherry, Sakura Blossom, Grapefruit, Mint

Délice de Bourgogne - Soufflé with Sesame and Lemon

Chocolate - Pistachio, Lime, Anise Hyssop

Mignardises - Chinotto Bon Bon, Cream Puff, Fraise du Bois Tart

Each dish at Oriole was more beautifully crafted and distinctively delicious than the last. Unique dishware added to the experience and I even chuckled a little when they served the Soufflé course on a West Elm coaster made of lava rock that I own as well. It takes imagination to redefine the use of an object and there's no lack of it at Oriole. I hope you enjoyed my first post in the great city of Chicago. For more information please visit www.OrioleChicago.com .

From Chicago, a 13 hour flight over the North Pole at 500 miles an hour will get you to Taku, a two Michelin Star restaurant in Tokyo, Japan.


Popular Posts