This is a unique dining experience that you should absolutely check out if you happen to be in Chicago on a Monday night. My balcony pretty much looks right out at Kendall College, so it’s a quick walk for me, but it’s near the intersection of Chicago and Halsted, which are served by major bus routes, about 15 minutes from Michigan Avenue or the Loop. Obviously, by the name, it’s a college, which includes a culinary school and a dining room that is open to the public. There are open for lunch or dinner, although I’ve only attended the Monday Night Dining Series.
At the beginning of the season, the themes are posted and open up for reservations. Each week, a famous chef is highlighted and the 5 course menu is based on their style. For $38, you get a 5 course meal, and you can BYOB. For the Monday Night Series only, there is no corking fee. They also have a full bar and wine list if you don’t BYOB. It’s really such a great deal. The food is prepared by chef students and the servers are from the pastry school.
Last year, I went on the night they highlighted Emeril. (Oddly enough, I would be eating at Emeril’s Orlando restaurant about a month later!) This was the best (OK, only) kale I’ve ever had! I’m not an adventurous eater by any stretch, but I cleaned every plate at this one!
This year, the highlighted chef was Ming Tsai, who I’ll admit, I had not heard of. (You can tell I’m not a foodie or Food Network addict!)
First Course: Vegetable Spring Roll, Spicy Mustard, Pickled Ginger, Fresh Mint
Second Course: Seared scallops, cauliflower puree, eggplant caviar, carrot glaze, curry oil, pomme gaufrette (which I think is a fancy word for potato chip!)
Third Course: Poached Shrimp, soba noodles, bok choy, crispy bean threads, sugar snap peas, red pepper
Fourth Course: Seared pork loin, apple pepper jelly, ginger sweet potato, spiced apples
Fifth Course: Spiced cake, orange gastrigue, cardamom
Everything was delicious, although for the most part, I left the sauces alone. I like my seafood, or any food really, pure and not drowning in sauce. Especially when the sauce is spicy, as was the case for several of these dishes.
Reservations are required for the series. This year, I called about 3 weeks out and was put on a waitlist, which opened up a few days before the event.
Even if you aren’t in Chicago on a Monday, you may still want to visit the dining room. Click here for more info.