Anything But Blue

November 30, 2011

For my sister's birthday dinner with our family, she decided on a Michael Jordan-owned restaurant, one sixtyblue. Located in the West Loop on W. Randolph (a.k.a. one of the best dining strips in Chicago) one sixtyblue features modern American food in a sophisticated setting.

Our family decided on the three-course American Table menu which included many fall seasonal items such as squash and truffles, to name a few.

American Table Menu

Some of the full menu
Many of us selected similar items from the American Table menu but hopefully you will find some variety in the below assortment. For the starter plate course, my dad went with the house-smoked salmon which sat atop a house-made hash brown. He was so excited, he forgot to wait for me to take a photo! I didn't sample this plate but he said it was delicious (it smelled delicious!).

Partially-enjoyed house-smoked salmon & one sixtyblue hash brown
My mom, sister and I decided on the roasted kabocha squash soup which featured slivers of black truffle butter, apple slaw and apple cider. Not only was the presentation of the soup beautiful, the rich flavors of the squash were nicely balanced with the acidity of the apples. If only I could order a gallon of this scrumptious soup to go! It was the perfect fall soup--I nearly licked the bowl.

Roasted kabocha squash soup
Because I "checked in" on the application Foursquare, our table received an order of fried house-made pickles, served with a dill aioli. How's that for a promotion?! Our amazing server explained how the appetizer was a nod to one sixtyblue's location as a former pickle factory. The breading and aioli were tasty, however, I wasn't crazy about the pickles as I found them to be a bit too salty.

House-made fried pickles
For our main plates, all four of us decided to try the wood-grilled hanger steak. We may not have been adventurous by all selecting the same item but the dish itself was quite interesting. The steak was cut into medallions and served atop a red kuri squash puree and coffee sauce. Sprinkled on top were roasted brussels sprouts, chopped applewood-smoked bacon and a dollop of hot chocolate foam. Although I couldn't really taste the coffee flavoring in the sauce, the rich cocoa flavor came out in the foam and was delicious with the meat. What a creative take on a comfort-food staple! The portion size was perfect, even a little too much (although my parents disagreed), and my only complaint was that I'd wished the dish was a little warmer in temperature.

Wood-Grilled Hanger Steak
Next, our fabulous server delivered an amouse-bouche to please our palates before our dessert plates arrived. This little treat was a shot of warm apple cider mixed with tiny tapioca balls and a dab of whipped cream. It was the perfect sweet taste of fall!

Where we lacked variety in our main plates, we certainly made up for it in the dessert course. We ordered all three of the offered desserts including a Milk Chocolate Semifreddo with grapefruit, black sesame shortbread and yuzu (Japanese citrus). The rich chocolately flavor was surprisingly very delicious with the sesame shortbread. The sweet and savory combination can't be beat.

Milk Chocolate Semifreddo
The second dessert was a Pumpkin Crema layered in a mini mason jar with crumbled pumpkin spice cake and topped with a pumpkin seed brittle. While the pumpkin crema was not too sweet on its own, when tasted with the brittle, you had the perfect combination of smooth and sweet flavors. This dessert was massive but that didn't stop me from finishing (and wanting more!).

Pumpkin Crema
My sister's pumpkin crema had a special "Happy Birthday" chocolate message!

Last, but not least, was the trio of one sixtyblue sorbets. The selection featured house-made cherry, coconut and pear sorbets served atop a rosemary shortbread. The pear sorbet was out-of-this-world-delicious and refreshing and the rosemary shortbread was crunchy and fragrant. It was so delicious I forgot to take a photo before we dug in!

Already-enjoyed one sixtyblue sorbets
As if we didn't have enough desssert, we were kindly sent home with several house-made molasses cookies as a special holiday treat. I had one of these the next day, and they were soft yet crunchy and filled with wonderful spiced molasses flavor!

House-made molasses cookies
Overall, our dining experience at one sixtyblue was a memorable and elegant evening. Although the food itself shined, it was the service that makes this restaurant one I will recommend to anyone I meet. From the moment we stepped foot inside, to the second we left, we were treated with such class and attentiveness. Both the management and serving staff were genuinely interested in making our dining experience an enjoyable one, and it completely blew my family away. Never have I had such flawless service in a restaurant!

I highly recommend dining at one sixtyblue for a special occasion, or simply for an out-of-the-ordinary modern American meal. one sixtyblue gets 4.5 stars for their creative use of seasonal ingredients, beautiful presentation and impeccable service!

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