Oriole opened in Chicago in March 2016 and has become one of the top fine dining tasting menu restaurants (2 Michelin stars) that I had yet to try in Chicago. It’s located in the West Loop area, and reservations are taken through OpenTable. It has come up in a few food conversations, so I decided to visit during my recent relatively extended visit to the area.
Upon arrival in the restaurant’s vestibule, we were offered a glass of either warm cider or Pommeau champagne. We were seated soon after arrival, so we took the beverages to our table.
The entire dining area is adjacent to a large open kitchen. There was no Chef’s Counter as a seating option, however. Most tables had a full view of the kitchen area.
I went ahead and ordered the spirit-free beverage pairing. Since it was the same beverage director as the one who created the pairings at kikko the night before, I was looking forward to the offerings. The first beverage was called Effervescent. It was a cocktail of sparkling verjus blanc and a spiced chamomile tea.
The opening dish was Russian osetra caviar with saffron strands, dill, and fluke tartare lightly dressed with a lemon dressing. There was a crispy layer underneath. The dish was finished at the table with a beurre blanc made with reduced Champagne. There was a pronounced saffron flavor finish on the palate.
The next beverage was called Speckled. It was made with an apricot tea, vanilla syrup, elderflower, freshly-ground black pepper, and a splash of soda water.
The next course was Fraises des Bois (Spanish wild strawberries) dressed with a pink peppercorn gastrique (caramelized sugar, deglazed with vinegar and then the desired flavor added). They were dotted with a chicken liver and foie gras mousse, dusted with powdered crème fraîche and gold dust, and served on a toasted brioche. This was very good, with nice flavor combinations and textures.
The next dish was Jamon Ibérico bellota wrapped with Marcona almond crisps. On top were whipped egg yolks, cheese, fermented honey, candied black walnuts, quince jam, and coriander blossoms.
After finishing the finger food snacks, we were asked to select from an assortment of silverware rests.
The next beverage was roasted barley tea (mugicha), California Cabernet Franc and Merlot verjus, and sparkling French Normandy cider.
The next course featured golden enoki mushrooms (fresh and fried) with a black truffle custard underneath. Additionally, tarragon and black Périgord truffles were on top. This was finished at the table with a roasted chicken broth steeped with fresh ginger. There was a spicy finish from the broth that lingered on the palate.
For the full write-up, click here.