I started this blog because I really love the stories behind the wine in a glass. However, I like food and wine, too. So on occasion, I will be posting on dining experiences.
Last Wednesday, I went to a media dinner for the just opened, Steadfast Chicago, located in the Kimpton Gray Hotel in the Loop at Monroe and LaSalle. The chefs created a tasting menu of some of their favorite items from their current menu.
Steadfast brings an innovative, seasonal, chef-driven restaurant concept from The Fifty/50 Group who ,also, own The Fifty 50, The Berkshire Room, Roots Pizza, WestTown Bakery, Homestead on the Roof and The Sixth. I have not been to any of their other properties but they have been on my “get to” list because of the positive word of mouth. The Sixth is at the top of my list, for all that I have heard about the innovative and witty cocktails designed by Benjamin Schiller. Homestead on the Roof, has always been on my “radar screen” because of their rooftop garden, their commitment to farmers and seasonal produce. So when I got this invitation to try out Steadfast, I was excited to go.
Through collaboration between Executive Chef Christopher Davies and Executive Pastry Chef Christopher Teixeira, an adventurous menu blends seasonality and creativity with balanced characteristics of the two talented chefs. New American cuisine with Mediterranean and Portuguese influences reflects the cultural diversity of the chef partners.
My first impression was that the entire staff was genuinely excited and enthusiastic about this new project which is a great sign. I was happy to see Chef Scott Manley from Table, Donkey and Stick at the dinner to talk about his charcuterie collaboration with Chef Davies. There is space carved out for a meat drying room that can be seen from the dining area. The cocktail program is stellar and designed by Benjamin Schiller with creations like “Johnny and Friends” (gin, summer apple, green chartreuse, vanilla and mint). It is definitely a place to put on your “cocktailing” list. Finally, Chef Davies references his time in Egypt going to Middle Eastern spices and red sumac in some of his plates and Chef Teixeira’s bread program is a meal in itself and the desserts are thoughtful and tasty.
If I were in my financial job days, I could see taking a client here for a nice dinner or just meeting a colleague at the bar for a cocktail and a small bite to eat or nibble on. I will certainly keep it on my list for a place to meet up for a cocktail and light dinner. But I ,also, want to come back for the tableside duck course which was really, really good and is designed and priced to be shared among a group of at least 4 if not more. I got the sense that the plates will change with the season. They have a beautiful wine room as well for a chef’s tasting menu or private dinner.
I had a lot of favorites from our “tasting” dinner. I loved the charcuterie, the bread course and the kale salad. The whole duck presentation was fun to see. The desserts were well thought out, artfully designed and tasty. I was happy to see their homage to bees with the honey dessert, honey sage cake, ice cream and bee pollen sauce.
The beverage pairings were a mix of wine and cocktails. The cocktails were stars in their own right. The wines that were poured were thoughtful, a Bueyes sparkling malbec from Argentina, a Marie Pierre Manciat Macon chardonnay and an Oregon Battle Creek pinot noir.
The menu is designed to be flexible for small or large meals. I think the chefs are in their element with tasting menus but you can certainly just stop by for a cocktail and a nibble as well. If I were working in the area I would be really happy that this is now an option and destination for dining in the Loop. Below are pictures of some my favorite plates.