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Restaurant Sun Jul 06 2014
Hotel dining has always seemed like the pinnacle of luxury to me-- perhaps a direct result of my parents denying a younger me any opportunity to order room service, ever. Therefore, I jumped at the invitation to sample a sneak peak of the new summer menu at the Four Seasons Chicago's flagship restaurant Allium.
Located on the 7th floor of this sweeping hotel, Allium is all luscious elegance and modern refinement-- not to mention delightfully generous with its armchairs and plush carpeting. On the current menu one can find the tried-and-true standards-- a house burger, a roasted chicken for two-- but alongside these favorites are some surprises, such as a Chicago-style hot dog and a cheese lavosh, an Armenian-style flatbread.
However, newcomer Executive Chef Steven Wambach, previously head chef at Epic, is eager to put his own spin on the menu and show off some of the hits of summer. In the sun-drenched private events room, cooks busily garnished bites of tuna with artichoke aioli and shaved truffle, white asparagus gazpacho with cucumber and Marcona almonds, and pork rillette toasts with foie gras and caviar. (See! Pinnacle of luxury. I was not wrong.) I have a soft spot for hors d'oeuvres and the attempt to capture so many different elements in a single perfect bite-- crunch, creaminess, freshness, salt, acid-- and Chef Wambach carried this off exceptionally well. In all of the bites, one could taste the brightness of summer ingredients side-by-side with the comforting familiarity of Midwestern flavors. The Chef himself returned periodically to the dining area to speak with guests and assist with plating.
Chef Wambach, originally from New York, has experience as a chef and consultant spanning many years and multiple cities including Las Vegas, Las Angeles, Miami, Dallas, and Hong Kong. He finally came to call Chicago home upon opening Epic in 2009, where he was able to focus on developing his own creativity and honing a signature style. Numerous accolades later, Chef Wambach signed on as the Executive Chef at the Four Seasons Chicago on April 7, 2014. He is looking forward to imbuing the Allium menu with his own sophisticated flair while maintaining the hotel's focus on seasonality and farm-to-table cooking.
Allium is located in the Four Seasons Hotel at 120 E Delaware Pl.