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Restaurant Fri Sep 18 2009

Lunch in the Modern Wing

Mizuna Salad @ Terzo PianoA reservation at Terzo Piano is still hard to come by, even though the restaurant has been open since May. The bright, airy restaurant in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute is only open for lunch most days (except for Thursday, when it's open for dinner until 9 pm.) On a recent Wednesday afternoon, most of the lunch crowd was dressed in suits and heels and had most certainly not spent the morning hiking around Millennium Park and the museum like I had. Despite our informal attire, however, the staff was friendly (if somewhat stiff) and the food was full of flavor.

The mizuna salad I ordered was served with slices of rolled and stuffed organic chicken breast and topped with corn, avocado, cilantro and cashew dressing. Since I like cilantro, I enjoyed the strong flavor it added to the dish, but those with an aversion to it might want to steer clear of this salad. The chicken was tender and moist, if a little too salty, and the dressing was creamy and light.

However, my favorite part of the meal may have been the bread basket. Slices of bread are served along with lacy Parmesan crisps, and the olive oil brought to the table with the bread was fruity and rich. I could have dipped cardboard in it and been happy munching away all afternoon.

Although the prices are a little steep for lunch, the views of the Michigan Avenue skyline and the experience of dining in a beautifully designed space are worth the splurge.


bob / September 18, 2009 11:55 AM

oh, the parmesan crisps were heavenly! i've recreated them at home using this recipe:

hold the pepper, for me. works great with parchment or even a lightly oiled foil. don't put them straight on the pan!

Tammy / September 18, 2009 12:11 PM

I've been debating about this place for a while, but have hesitated because of the price tag and problems with getting a reservation. Not sure the view is going to compensate for that.

Lee / September 21, 2009 4:33 PM

My partner and I went for lunch without a reservation and were seated in the bar area within a couple minutes (and there was no wait for the main dining area). We split the heirloom tomato salad and the trio of mini burgers, and everything was surprisingly good, and it made a satisfying light lunch for two. I was skeptical of the shrimp burger, but it was actually quite good, and all three (other two were lamb and beef) were moist and flavorful, which is rare with mini burgers. The salad was simple, but the tomatoes were perfect and the dressing had a very nice hint of citrus. We were also pleased that they served locally-brewed Half Acre beer, though I had been hoping they'd have a more interesting liquor list.

If you're hesitant because of price, I'd suggest going the light lunch route and splitting a salad and entree like we did, so you can sample a little and decide if you like it enough to come back another time for more.

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I was using Rick Bayless' restroom, I mused, staring up at the ceiling window that was projecting a heavenly beacon of light upon my less-than-angelic duties. I could barely distinguish Rick's faint murmurs through the orange walls, something about how...
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