Way back in December Mike and I visited chef Curtis Duffy’s exquisite new restaurant on Chicago‘s Near West Side, Grace. Yes, I’m just getting around to writing about it now! I called the very morning they started taking reservations and got us in within the first few days they were officially open. We were wowed. Wowed by food that was the very definition of grace and elegance.
When you walk into the small, intimate dining room you immediately see the pristine kitchen in front of you filled with chefs working quietly and methodically to put each little component of the dishes together to create a work of art. All the staff was incredibly professional, helpful, and you could tell how excited they were to be part of such a fantastic venture.
There were 2 menu options, one that is largely vegetarian and one that is more animal protein based. Mike and I both went with the latter. Every single dish had a fantastic array of textures, making every bite interesting and leaving you wondering what will come next. You will definitely find the word “delicious” used quite a bit! Here’s what we had:
The first few bites weren’t on the menu but it was one of my favorite courses. Served on a plank of a whisky barrel, each little bite was so interesting had packed with so much flavor and the presentation was very unique.
*Big Eye Tuna-golden trout roe, pomelo, thai basil: Definitely one of the most fun dishes to eat. Served in a container of ice that you break apart and eat all together to give very interesting textures and tastes.
*Grilled Wagyu Beef-matsutake, salsify, mashua leaf: One of the best few bites of meat I’ve ever had, paired with a tea cup filled with dashi to drink as you ate the dish-delicious, perfect, I want more!
*Caramelized Sudachi-toasted cashews, asian pear, nasturtium: Probably the most beautiful dish we were served-so many colors! The sudachi “custard” didn’t quite hit the nail on the head in the flavor and texture department for us, but our plates were still scraped clean when they took them away.
*Bitter Chocolate-raw chesnut, persimmon, lemon mint: So many amazing things happening on this little plate. The perfect ending (or so we thought)!
They brought us one more course, a bonus dessert, that I don’t quite remember what it was-except that chocolate was involved and it was a very sweet ending!
Before we left we got to go back into the kitchen for a few minutes to watch all the chefs in action. I watched in awe as a chef placed the tiniest of components with such exact precision. That chef then stood up and it was none other than Curtis Duffy himself! I shook his hand and stood awestruck in my own nerdy foodie heaven! We were given a signed menu on our way out, a perfect way to remember this very special night. I’m sure there are many great things to come for this wonderful new addition to the Chicago.