Sunday, March 22, 2009

Review: Sixteen

Ever since Trump planted the first shovel in the ground on Wabash for Trump Tower, Chicago has honed its art of publicly hating the Donald. It's hard to resist. Between his obnoxious antics, ego, and excess there's enough to make your lip curl. At some point though, that gets trite and you may as well see if the reality lives up to the hype.

Sixteen's space is just as gorgeous as every review describes - stellar architectural views of the Wrigley and Tribune towers, and a luxurious interior to match - but then that's not really a rarity. There's no shortage of expensive, opulent restaurants in Chicago, although I don't think any of them have been vaguely derided for it like this one has. We went to Sixteen last night to celebrate my husband's birthday, and overall the food and wine pairings of our blind tasting menu were just shy of excellent, with truly great service that's actually too rare in our city.

Over three hours, Paul our sommelier presented all 10 of the small courses and their wine pairings to us. Chef Frank Brunacci's kitchen did a great job of adjusting the menu around my dietary restrictions of no meat or poultry, with one hiccup that was quickly resolved. The highlights were Brunacci's signature scallops with "bang bang" pear chutney, a Tasmanian sea trout with an amazing ginger reduction... and fried winter point oysters that I'm still thinking about. My husband's scallop, accompanied by fois gras, was his favorite of the evening, followed by a duo of fillet mignon and short ribs that had him swooning. The plate of artisanal cheeses was one of the best we've had anywhere, followed by two very good dessert courses. Paul's wine pairings were solid with moments of brilliance, and when he learned of our fondness for the Mary Edwards Pinot Noir, he sent more. You only eat like this a couple of times a year, if you're lucky. Would we go back? In a hearbeat.

The consumate lover of a great view, my husband eyed Sixteen's massive terrace from our table all night long. Paul said they plan to open it for brunch service later in the spring.


Sixteen on Urbanspoon

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