Friday, May 2, 2014

sixteen (2) - chicago, il
401 north wabash avenue
chicago, il 60611

my first meal at sixteen was in january of 2013, and while i enjoyed the winter 16 course menu quite a bit, i did not leave the restaurant feeling particularly compelled to rush back. there was something about the overall experience that left me wanting just a bit more. however, in the months that followed, i noticed chef lents rolling out interesting menu concepts that received high praises from his peers as well as publications and bloggers. when november came around and sixteen was elevated to the michelin two star level, i knew it was time to consider a return.

sixteen's current menu is based on the day and night sky, with diners choosing a nine course tasting based on one of the aforementioned themes. the day menu (selected by my wife) is more protein based while the night (my choice) leans more on seafood. both menus begin with a series of four snacks based on the elements before moving into two amuse bouche offerings, one a day theme and the other a night. from there, the menus progress in logical fashion, beginning with lighter dishes and culminating with a rather larger entrĂ©e course before an optional cheese cart ($35 per plate, which is plenty for 2-3 people to share...well worth it) arrives at the table. it is then new pastry chef aya fukai's turn, with the first of three desserts being the same for both menus. finally, a beautiful presentation of mignardises arrive at the table along with a copy of the menu and a take home treat for the next morning.

the day after our meal at sixteen, i tweeted that i thought it was the best meal i have had so far in 2014. after having some time to think about the overall experience a bit further, i stand behind my original statement, as no other meal would have a higher overall average when considering food, service, and atmosphere (although grace is damn close). being that chef lents intends to completely change the theme of the restaurant quarterly, i know that i will be back at some point for a new and likely equally excellent experience!
snacks - water, air, earth, fire
day amuse bouche
night amuse bouche
day course 1
the rising sun - cured king salmon with kumquat, haircot vert, lemongrass chantilly, and osetra caviar
night course 1
reflections of a full moon - crudo of diver scallops draped over king crab, sea samphire, citrus, and avocado
day course 2
melting snow - porcini mushroom teas with a foie gras, radish, grapefruit, and celery salad

night course 2
the moonless night - lobster and cauliflower panna cotta with sea urchin and squid ink yuba

day course 3
a garden springs - fava bean soil, chamomile infused whey, spring vegetables, and rabbit

night course 3
the crescent moon - salsify with abalone, oysters poached in anise, and osetra caviar


day course 4
the egg comes first - farm egg on truffled dashi rice with green garlic and braised bacon

night course 4
the white north star - butter poached escolar with sepia, lily and white asparagus, in a sake and coconut broth

day bonus

night bonus
white asparagus tempura

day course 5
then the chicken - poussin with brioche stuffing, variations of green asparagus, morel and cockscomb

night course 5
the veil of night - langoustine in squid ink chitarra, ragout of razor clam, buckwheat and seaweeds

day course 6
the flowering sun - spring lamb in sunflower, artichoke barigoule with arugula and a sunchoke condiment

night course 6
the fairy ring - veal with morels, fiddlehead ferns, sea buckthorn, laurel and elderflower emulsion
supplemental cheese course

day and night course 7
eclipse - blood orange and cocoa nib sorbet with black cumin sable and poached fennel

day course 8
april showers - lychee flocken torte, shiso elderflower granite, rhubarb spritz

night course 8
good night moon - caramel bavaroise and carrot cake with aerated cardamom cream cheese ice cream

day course 9
may flowers - huckleberry filled goat cheese mousse with almond financier and mountain mint ice cream

night course 9
a kiss goodnight - kirsch cherries with baked chocolate custard, sakura anglaise, and cherry vanilla veil


menu and take home treat

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