Happy New Year!
I’m breaking my hiatus with another trip to the “Windy City”, and boy, was it windy this evening on my 25-minute walk across the river.
After a 12-hour work day, I decided it would make sense to walk back towards my hotel and search for dinner nearby. Let me set the scene: it’s 7PM, there are very few people walking outside because of the low temperature (about 9°F), and the wind is whipping around the high rises by my office. Yes, I was not thinking clearly due to hunger. The good news was that I found a nice French bistro on W Monroe via Yelp and thus plotted my journey.
With my sights set on a warm meal, I headed out.
And began regretting the decision five minutes in when my face froze. Too bad I’m not agile enough at this moment to walk faster.
I ended up stopping at Steadfast in The Kimpton Gray Hotel, one of the establishments of the Fifty/50 Restaurant Group. By now, it was about 7:20PM and Cochon Volant was gone from my mind (even though it was less than a block away). The ambiance was already more than enough to convince me to stay than continue on my trek.
I was seated immediately at a table with partial booth seating facing the Steadfast window signage, and presented with the beverage and dining menus by the hostess. My server, Brandy, introduced herself to me shortly after I got settled and offered me still, sparkling, or tap water. I’m simple – tap is fine. I also asked for a Thicker Than Water, a bourbon-based cocktail to warm me up. She hustled away and left me to figure out my meal choice.
When Brandy returned with my drink, I decided on the foie gras to start and the halibut for my main (although I was torn between that and the sea scallops). After I placed my order, I was presented with a complimentary amuse bouche on a golden leaf, featuring coconut mousse in between two mini vanilla meringue cookies.
This was a nice palate opener – the mousse had hints of salty caramel, offset by the sweetness of the meringue.
A few moments later, the foie gras arrived.
The foie gras was pan seared and placed atop pureed butternut squash and a layer of raisins, topped with housemade cotton candy. The creaminess of the foie was balanced with the sticky cotton candy, and all the flavors were enhanced by the squash puree. Seriously delightful!
Brandy allowed a light pause between the appetizer and entree. While halibut is a simple dish, it was presented beautifully seared and perfectly prepared.
A bite of the halibut with some risotto, a tender escargot, and a few mushrooms all together was heavenly. The parsley and microgreens added an additional layer of flavor to the dish. I did my best to take my time enjoying the entree, even though instinct was trying to convince me to inhale the plate.
A complimentary palette cleanser was served after the entree. It was a few small spoonfuls of St. Germain gel, citrus petals, and lavender snow, the combination of which prepared me for dessert.
Wherever I dine out, I always test the creme brulee. This experience was no different. I selected Grape for my dessert, and was pleasantly surprised by an artful interpretation of the treat.
A series of cocoa and praline candies encircled the brulee, topped with housemade Concord grape jelly and sorbet. Surprisingly, the combination was not overly sweet.
I thought my dinner was complete until Brandy returned with complimentary house made petit fours.
From the left, a macaron, peanut butter chew, mint gel, praline, and chocolate disc truly closed out the meal. I took the praline to go, and had a taste of the others while settling my bill.
Now I didn’t mind the chill outside, especially because it gave me a chance to digest and reminisce on this great meal. If you happen to be in the Theater District, I highly recommend Steadfast!