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May 26, 2010

Restaurant Review: The Drawing Room

Before I had the marvelous opportunity to eat at the Drawing Room with my friend Jessica, I had solely visited to sip and savor their magnificent cocktails. It seems to be a widespread idea that the Drawing Room is the place for mainly drinks, however after my munch-tastic experience, I know better... The truth; unveiled. Myth; shattered. While their drinks do shine like stars in a fairytale sky, their food shines brighter (that is a fib because they are both really freakin' good but I just like the way that sounds). Unbeknownst to you, I am utilizing this blog as a vehicle to enlighten you by opening the magical door that keeps only two sacred things: rainbows, and Chef Nick Lacasse's sweetbreads. Although The Drawing Room does have delectable--and from a mixologist's standpoint maybe even perfect cocktails, the food also deserves more gold stars than six-year-old Einstein.

My dinner was seven courses while dessert consisted of three, so altogether I had approximately 42 courses... Truth be told, they were all phenom (that's slang for phenomenal). Chef Nick Lacasse definitely spoiled my buds with his never-ending sequence of mouthwatering dishes; since then a standard 3-course meal feels roughly as satisfying as a five-star drive-thru dinner from Arby's. Barf. Thanks a lot, a-hole! As punishment for setting the bar too high, I'm going to tell everyone how splendid your food was. Consider yourself served...

Here I go:
New Jersey Oysters--with Frank's Red Hot caviar and mignonette: fresh, sexy, and delicious with a kick from the faux-caviar.
Spicy Tuna Tartare--with avocado, tempura nori, and hearts of palm emulsion: exquisite combination of taste and texture between the fresh tuna, creamy avocado, crisp nori, and slightly sweet, airy foam.
Veal Nuggets--veal sweetbreads with porterhouse bbq sauce and buttermilk poppy seed slaw: the flawless natural flavor of the sweetbreads (further enhanced by Nick's skills), crispy breading, and the tangy, fresh crunch of the slaw makes this perfect little nugget my favorite.
Fried Guacamole--tempura avocado, tomato, cumin seed, cilantro coulis, grilled key lime: there is something about the crunchy, warm avocado--which melts in your mouth with just the slightest pressure from your tongue, combined with the perfectly complimentary ingredients that elevate this creative interpretation higher than you could ever imagine without tasting it.
Polenta--crispy herbed cake, whipped fontagne, baby spring onions, asparagus, oyster mushrooms, and parsley white wine sauce: first, who doesn't love polenta? The variety of perfectly executed vegetables and simply delicious sauce makes this sophisticated rendition of a classic comfort food even more likable.
Bacon Squared--bacon wrapped braised pork belly with yuzu sunchoke puree: this dish, which screams HOLY SUCCULENT FAT EAT-ME GOODNESS, sounds down-home and unrefined (with the exception of the yuzu sunchoke puree). In reality (aka my mouth), it is remarkably polished and it balances wonderfully with the sweet puree. Sinful is OK when it's this delicious.
Dessert consisted of white chocolate creme brulee, blood orange bread pudding with whipped sour cream, and my favorite (though all were heavenly) whiskey ice cream--a must try because I promise you will like it no matter how much you cringe after taking a shot of Jameson...

So, who's jealous? It sounds like a fabricated fairytale but trust me, there is no need to sugarcoat an experience that is already this sweet. It was simply that amazing.
And for those of you who are wondering, with regard to cocktails I had the Trifecta (Cabana, Martini & Rossi Bianco, three herb syrup, lime) and the One Night in Rio (Cabana, Aperol, Luxardo Maraschino, lemon, basil). Both were very good--complex yet well-balanced, the whole shebang... I'll leave the explaining to the experts.

Moral of the Story? It is rare that the restaurant- and bar-component of a restaurant/bar are on equal playing fields, especially on such a stellar level. But I promise you the Drawing Room does in fact exist, it will make your buds dance, and it's right in the heart of Chicago...
*Photos: The oysters and tuna tartare, the fried guac, the sweet breads, and the bacon squared.

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