Thursday, September 27, 2018

Chicago Eats: Aviary

Here it is, the final Chicago Eats post from our recent trip to the Windy City. And I saved the BEST for last!

As soon as we started planning our trip months ago, Alinea was on our "must do" list and quickly its sister bar, The Aviary, made its way onto that list as well.

Located in the West Loop, it's known for its creative craft cocktails and innovative food. At its heart, it's a cocktail bar. But one that you really need a pre-paid reservation for. It also has some incredible food to complement your beverage experience.

Mr. H had apparently booked us for the Kitchen Table, without truly realizing what he had signed us up for. What we got was a a true "Chef's Table" of a behind-the-scenes high-top table for two, perched in the kitchen with a front row view of all the cocktails and food being prepared. Just us!
What followed was an incredible 8-course dinner of cocktail and food pairings!

Immediately, I was having fun watching the humongous crispy pork skin come out.
Then our Amuse cocktail course, with Jamaican jerk, summer fruits, and mezcal, arrived at the table, and I knew we were REALLY about to have fun.
Each course was creative, playful, and something I haven't seen before, including the Micahlada cocktail course with yuzu, whiskey, hot sauce, gose, mole, and elotes. Served in a gorgeous glass bird with a glass straw, and two small bites balancing on the wings.
They are known for their "Porthole", and the 20,000 Blueberries Under the Tea with cinnamon, clementine, thyme, and apple brandy cocktail grew more flavorful the longer it sat.
Of course, there was a smoked cocktail! Infernal Imagery with spruce, sherry, brandy, and juniper.
Of all the cocktails we were served, there was only one that was too "boozey" for me to enjoy. The others were all so delicious and interesting.

But, the food was just as great! We started off with some of the Crispy Pork Skin pictured above, served with hummus with lime zest and chili oil. The combination of chili oil and zest was fantastic, and something I'd like to replicate at home.
The Alaskan King Crab course was fun to eat, as the hand-molded plate didn't rest on a table, but was meant to sit in the palm of your hand.
The true star of the night, and best bite of the whole trip, was the Sweet Corn Agnolotti with shaved truffles. I'm still dreaming of this dish.
The courses continued, like an A5 Miyazaki Ribeye.
A fun, small bite, Black Truffle Explosion, served on a cool hallow plate.
A refreshing Yuzu Sorbet cleansed our palate before dessert.
Two sweeter dishes headed our way to end the meal, paired with cocktails like the Lassi-Faire with lime, honeydew, meringue, and charteuse.
The Peach dessert was as gorgeous as it was delicious.
The final bite was a playful Ice Cream Sandwich.
The night exceeded any expectations we had, and will always be a memory-maker. One of the top dining experiences of my life, and one that I hope to repeat some day. Aviary should be on your "don't miss" list for Chicago!

955 W Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607