Friday, June 30, 2017

Hip Chicago Food: Roister

The endive salad at Roister; beets stained the endive red

The last couple of times I've gone to Chicago, I've tried to get reservations at Alinea. One time, the entire staff was in Spain while the restaurant underwent a reboot. The other times, we just haven't been able to score a reservation.

Avocado toast
Not only that, many of the Grant Achatz offshoots are closed on Mondays, which was the only day we had free on our last trip to the Windy City. Luckily for us, a friend told me about Roister, in the burgeoning Fulton Market area. We had climb around construction barriers and gigantic trucks to reach our destination, a large, casual place with an open kitchen and huge hearth that us used for many of the dishes.

We went for lunch, since we had a 3:30 flight home (that left at 8pm, but that's another story).  Portions are small, and expensive (the tasting menu at Alinea is $275) but since it was just barely noon, we saved money by not sampling any of the excellent sounding cocktails.

We shared avocado toast with an English muffin grilled in that open fire and everything butter on top. It was delicious.

Grits with scallops
Then we had a salad of endive with pistachios, beets and blue cheese. This is a classic combo, with an interesting addition: tangerine. Expertly done.

Finally, we shared grits, with scallops, egg yolk sauce and parmesan. Bit salty, but quite tasty.

That was it for the vegetarian (or pescetarian) portion of the limited menu; there's also a fried bologna sandwich and a friend chicken sandwich. Or, if you're feeling flush, a $53 Japanese hamburger.

Somehow, just with coffee and the automatic 20% service charge, we spent over $70 on lunch. 

But I'd definitely return for drinks and appetizers.

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