I am so excited to next tell you about the incredible dining experience the huz and I had at Sable Kitchen & Bar in Chicago’s River North area this past weekend.
We had a 7:30 PM reservation for Saturday night, and arrived on time, despite a little confusion in locating the restaurant which is not prominently labeled on the outside. We were seated right away, and I have to admit that I did not love the décor nor the atmosphere, at least at first. This picture I snapped isn’t great, but it gives one a general impression of the space. The exterior wall consists of floor-to-ceiling windows covered in translucent drapes, while the rest of the restaurant is adorned in mostly sleek, black finishes. Think swank and trendy. I really felt that the area was just lacking some warm, inviting element. It was still light outside when we arrived at 7:30, and I imagine that once it becomes dark outside, the lighting in the restaurant warms up the atmosphere a bit.
With dinner, I sipped on a couple glasses of merlot. It was a wine that I really liked and of course I cannot remember the name, but it had the word “one” in it. There were also many, many artful and innovative cocktails to choose from (um, like the Cat’s Meow which combines gin, lemon, honey and Sriracha – whaaa!?), but I was in a wine mood for dinner.
UPDATE: I just asked the huz about the wine and he remembered! It was ONEHOPE Merlot.
So, Sable’s Executive Chef Heather Terhune was a top ten finalist in the most recent season of Top Chef on Bravo. The huz and I love Top Chef! We are huge fans and most definitely remembered Heather from Season 9. In fact, we saw her in the restaurant several times during dinner and became giddy and star stricken!
I found the menu, featuring small “social plates” to be quite exciting! The huz and I ordered five small plates to share, followed by dessert. Three of our five small plates were from the Hors D’Oeuvres section of the menu.
Second we had the Fried Wisconsin Cheese Curds with a spicy ketchup glaze. These underwhelmed me and didn’t seem to be worthy of the rest of the menu. With that said, the fried cheese curds were very tasty (especially the, indeed, spicy ketchup glaze!) but were just not as exciting as other menu items.
And next, my most very favorite small plate: BACON JAM!
Well, maybe not ‘nuff said. I still want to tell you about this. Sable’s Bacon Jam far exceeded my already-high expectations. It is super smoky, tangy, and meaty. The texture was thick and luscious. Pure heaven, atop a toasted baguette.
Up next, from the fish category, was an adventurous dish for us – Tuna Tartare Tostadas. I know a couple posts ago I mentioned that I am starting to like meat on the rarer side, but now apparently I down for raw meat. Sure, I’ve had raw meat in sushi before, but this seems even… rawer… to me. Right?? Small cubes of citrus-coasted raw tuna were stacked high atop a crisp tostada, accompanied by a spicy tomato salsa and meyer lemon crème. The tostadas were amazing, but oh.my.gosh I wanted more! One tostada was gone in about two incredibly bright bites. (Still, the price was right, I could have ordered more had I so desired.)
Our fifth plate was Buttermilk-Fried Chicken and Waffles! We had originally planned to order a full order, but our server advised that we would most likely have an adequate serving for two with the half order, so we went with a half order for the two of us. The rich and complex bourbon maple syrup blew me away, especially when paired with the salty fried chicken. The chicken and waffles were wonderful.
Just to keep the rhythm going, we ordered not one, but TWO desserts. Excellent life decision, I tell ya.
First we had the Dark Chocolate Soufflé Cake (my pick!) with peanut butter sauce and salted caramel ice cream. The cake was good, but not the very best chocolate cake of it’s kind that I have had before. I mean, it tasted great, but it somehow lacked that intangible OMG factor. The peanut butter sauce pairing, however, was incredible and completely saved the chocolate soufflé. However, the real star of this dish was the SALTED CARAMEL ICE CREAM! Often when I order “salted” desserts, the salt is pretty sparse, but not so here! This was some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had. Aggressive spoon battles soon ensued, between the huz and I, over the last few slurps of ice cream.
And, our last dish of the night, the huz’s dessert choice (we split both desserts): the Warm Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake! While waiting for the dish to arrive, we were making fun of the name of the dish because it sounded like a random string of adjectives and nouns strung together.
Warm. Sticky. Toffee. Pudding. Cake.
However, upon the arrival of this dish, we were deeply humbled. The huz took his first bite, and his eyes completely lit up. He insisted I try it immediately.
I dipped my spoon into the warm, dense cake, placed the cake in my mouth and, well, swooned.
Are you SERIOUS Sable!?
This was so incredibly amazing I can’t even tell you. At one point, maybe it was the wine, or the bacon, or the warmstickytoffeepuddingcake talking, but I declared that this was the BEST.THING.I.HAVE.EVER.EATEN. Okay, so maybe that’s a stretch, but I miiiight go so far as to say Sable’s Warm Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake is the best dessert I have ever had. It’s gotta be in the top five, hands down. It was just butter kids, pure freaking butter. Butter, and caramelized sugar. Crème fraiche ice cream was served atop the cake, but honestly I was so positively smitten by the warmsticktoffeepudding cake that I kind of ignored it.
Overall our meal at Sable was amazing. The food was just incredible, all of it. Most definitely a dining experience to remember! When we first entered the restaurant I was a put off by the not-so-warm atmosphere, but after settling in and receiving friendly service from our very down-to-earth server (never condescending, as can sometimes happen in more upscale restaurants), the huz and I quite enjoyed ourselves.
I want to go back and try EVERYTHING on the menu!
After dinner, we had our now-familiar walk back down Michigan Avenue.
Cue Megan romanticizing about living in Chicago.
Oh, hey, Trump Tower. Sure, I’d like to purchase that $30 million penthouse that’s up for sale. Kthx. Life Goals.