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    Post #1 - March 13th, 2016, 1:36 pm
    Post #1 - March 13th, 2016, 1:36 pm Post #1 - March 13th, 2016, 1:36 pm
    Had the pleasure of dining at Oriole last night; despite being only open three days the overall dining experience was truly incredible. Was a huge fan of Senza and had been eagerly anticipating Oriole's opening.

    Absolutely stunning dining room; one of the nicest in town. Manages to be luxurious yet there is such a relaxed vibe. Cara Sandoval (as she did at Senza) leads the front-of-the-house and there were some other familiar faces from Senza. Service was top notch; attentive but so warm and personable.

    The food from start to finish was just amazing with not a single dud in the sixteen courses. Loved what Chef Sandoval did at Senza, but now without the gluten free restriction, a superior kitchen and superior supporting cast this was one of the best meals I have had in a while. Pastry Chef Genie Kwon's desserts ended the evening on a high note. For such a new venue pacing was perfect as was the overall quantity of food. Sommelier Aaron McManus (formerly of L2O) curated an outstanding flight of mixed beverages; the sake was my favorite and at $75 for ten beverages was a tremendous value.

    Have already booked another reservation and I believe Oriole will quickly become one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago. Will be exciting to see what Michelin does later this year; based on how wonderful my meal was on day three of operation I think debuting at two stars is very realistic, if not likely.

    Kudos to Chef Sandoval and the entire Oriole team; so excited to have another tremendous fine dining option in town!

    Oriole Restaurant
    661 W Walnut Chicago
    http://www.oriolechicago.com/
    Twitter: @Goof_2
  • Post #2 - April 19th, 2016, 3:14 pm
    Post #2 - April 19th, 2016, 3:14 pm Post #2 - April 19th, 2016, 3:14 pm
    I had dinner at Oriole this past Saturday. I really enjoyed my dinner there, although my take is somewhat different from Gonzo. I thought the food was good, and enjoyable, although only a very few dishes were such standouts that they made you want to scream, "Wow! Delicious!" OTOH all the dishes were good, without a single miss either. What really impressed me was the overall experience. The pacing of the meal was perfect. It took about 2.5 hours, which means the procession of courses was steady and consistent, not rushed but not lagging. The room, with the open kitchen on one side, was pleasant and the noise level was conversation-friendly. Our service (led by Tory) was absolutely exceptional; she was helpful, and knowledgeable, and very very funny in her remarks, making the overall experience one of constant fun. As an example of her stellar service, at one point one member of our party spilled something on himself and she was right there immediately with a stain remover pen. All of these other factors, rather than the food itself, made the dinner excellent and extremely enjoyable.

    Oriole is on a one-block street. We drove right past it without noticing it, then went around the block. This is the exterior entrance:
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    Here's the room; in the kitchen, you'll notice pastry chef Kwon on the left, and executive chef Sandoval, in white, visible through the doorway:
    Image
    Here's the menu ($175) along with the wine pairings ($125):
    Image
    FRAISES DES BOIS: local cream, vermouth and watercress
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    JAMON IBERICO DE BELLOTA: black walnut, mustard seeds and campo de montalban
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    LANGOUSTINE: kristal caviar, white asparagus and torched lardo
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    SANTA BARBARA SEA URCHIN: yuzu kosho and genmai
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    HUDSON VALLEY FOIE GRAS: cashew, finger lime and white soy
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    ALASKAN KING CRAB: car acara, spring onion and herbs
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    ICELANDIC STEELHEAD TROUT: smoked roe, artichoke and marjoram
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    SOURDOUGH: cultured butter and local grain
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    JAPANESE A5 WAGYU: charred little gem, bernaise and black garlic
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    CAPELLINI: yeast butter, black truffle and rye berry
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    SLAGEL FARMS LAMB BELLY: huckleberry, ramp and buttermilk
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    PASSIONFRUIT SORBET: kaffir lime, coconut and marshmallow
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    GIANDUJA: pretzel lavash, raclette and black currant
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    CHICORY CUSTARD: milk ice cream, cinnamon and Tahitian vanilla
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    Coffee service
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    ALMOND CROISSANT: cardamom, rose and acacia honey
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    And a small dessert to take home:
    Image
    Last edited by nsxtasy on November 25th, 2017, 2:15 pm, edited 3 times in total.
  • Post #3 - June 19th, 2016, 5:27 pm
    Post #3 - June 19th, 2016, 5:27 pm Post #3 - June 19th, 2016, 5:27 pm
    Here are a few comments on our wonderful meal this past Friday:

    Atmosphere: It's an intimate room, and with so few tables, very calm and quiet (yay!). You can see into the kitchen. It's formal, but not like the old days where the men wear jackets, etc.

    Service: Attentive, but friendly and welcoming. Really couldn't be better.

    Pacing and portions. For us, the the pacing was perfect, as were the portion sizes. I suspect there will be some people who will want more food, as all the portions are quite small. For us, however, some tasting menus end with a struggle to eat the rich dishes at the end, and an uncomfortable overstuffed feeling at the end, which is not pleasant. Here, you had a nice short break between each course, and at the end we felt just pleasantly full.

    The food: I thought 4-5 courses were merely good, and rest were home runs. They do lean on prime ingredients (Alaskan King crab, caviar, wagu beef, foie gras, etc), but I'm not complaining. Who knew foie gras and scallops go together? Also, simple courses like the bread and butter were absolutely stellar.

    All in all, a great night.
  • Post #4 - August 8th, 2016, 4:01 pm
    Post #4 - August 8th, 2016, 4:01 pm Post #4 - August 8th, 2016, 4:01 pm
    I had an amazing meal at Oriole over the weekend. 14 courses took roughly a little over two and a half hours. The flavors were familiar, yet innovative and refined. I went with the mixed drink pairing @ $75 which included mostly wines, 2 beers, and a sake. The wife had two glasses, a red and a white, and requested the sommelier choose what he thought was appropriate.

    As Gonzo70 mentioned below, all the dishes were a hit. Even more remarkable was how many of the courses leaving us even more impressed than the one previous. At the end of the night, I think it is up there with Alinea as my favorite Chicago dining experience, even edging out Grace.

    Forgive the iphone pictures, but here are some highlights:

    Golden Osetra Caviar
    tomato sorbet, creme fraiche, sea grapes
    Image

    Alaskan King Crab
    watermelon, nuoc man, herbs
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    Capellini
    perigord truffle, rye berry, yeast
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    Japanese A5 Wagyu
    charred little gem, furikake, sesame leaf
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    Mochi
    yuzu and chamomile yogurt
    Image
  • Post #5 - September 21st, 2016, 5:53 pm
    Post #5 - September 21st, 2016, 5:53 pm Post #5 - September 21st, 2016, 5:53 pm
    Oh, the joy of discovery!

    The thing that completely baffles me is the lack of posts about this place. The Lovely Dining Companion took me here for dinner the other night and it’s one of the best dinners we’ve had in quite some time. Service was absolutely excellent—among the very best. These people care and, what’s even more important to us, they are genuine. The food was inventive, offbeat (by which I mean unexpected combinations, mostly), beautiful, and delicious. There was no course less than very good and some were among those I’d consider the best I’ve had anywhere at any time. Best and most amazing of all is that this is all delivered at an astonishing price point. I consider our dinner on a par with meals we’ve had at both Grace and Alinea—albeit different. I am excited to return.

    The restaurant is, as has been noted several places, not easy to find. It’s in an alley between Lake and Fulton, very close to the corner of Union. nsxtasy’s picture above is useful but only if you’re coming from the west. If, as I suspect will be true for most people, you’re coming from the east, Oriole is all the way down the block, on the left (south) side of the street. The entryway is nineteenth-century industrial (the building was once a glue factory). Walk in and directly in front of you are heavy iron elevator doors, the kind that open horizontally, not vertically. Our welcome was warm and, unlike many other places, seemed absolutely genuine. As we chatted, our hostess mixed up a welcome drink for each of us. I asked for the ingredients twice because I enjoyed it so much. But writing all this time later, I can only recall tequila and chartreuse. My apologies.

    The entire staff, it seems, took the time before we showed up to learn about us AND remember it: they knew what we were celebrating. Most places will confirm LDC’s no-alcohol restriction and her one culinary restriction. But although everyone asks if you’re celebrating anything and dutifully enter your answer in the book, very few places ever read the book. Comments from the servers—not just our primary server but others as well—made clear that they knew what was going on. What was a true pleasure was the absolute “realness” of virtually every person we spoke with. It’s a young staff (from chefs to servers to others) and they more than held their own with professionals with decades of experience. That alone made it a true pleasure to be there.

    Image
    ABOUT 50% OF THE FLOOR

    I include this crappy picture solely to give a sense of the room at Oriole. You can see fully half the floor in this shot (actually, a bit more than 50%). The room is small. I counted ten two tops and three other tables. The amount of space around each table is exceptionally generous. Whether we were given a four top set for two because of our celebration or the luck of the evening’s reservations, I don’t know, but I cannot recall having this much room on a table. Ever. And there is lots and lots of space for the servers to walk; the amount of empty space in the room is very nearly beyond belief. I think it adds to the ambiance, frankly; it encourage relaxation. Though all the surfaces are hard, noise was never an issue—even when the room was 95% full.

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    ABOUT 50% OF THE KITCHEN

    Speaking of tiny rooms: this is the kitchen. Really! There’s another side equally spartan and of exactly the same size for the pastry chef. We debated at length whether there was a prep kitchen in a space behind that we could not see and I never seemed to remember to ask the server. But the amount of room for the kitchen staff is extraordinarily small. Granted, a room that seats about 30 people, max, doesn’t need a full-size kitchen, but this is probably the smallest kitchen you’ve seen, or could even imagine.

    Last note: serving ware. There are places that spend a lot of money and attention on serving ware. I don’t reject the value of doing so. But I know that I shared a reaction with LDC midway through the meal that encapsulates my feelings: the serving ware here is nice (and is some cases, truly wonderful). But it never takes center stage; it never draws attention away from the food like I feel it can at other places. The dishes, bowls, plates, and so forth are right for showcasing the food but the spotlight is on the food, not the items in which it is served.

    The food. We got off to a slightly slow start—we waited about half an hour after being seated for anything to appear. In fairness, we were the very first table to be seated (a number of folks came in right after us, though). And once the first plate appeared, pacing was impeccable. Indeed, I can’t recall better pacing anywhere. We were never rushed and the next course always appeared after a slight pause. (One of my enduring memories of Eleven Madison Park, frankly, despite the stellar food, was that new courses appeared almost the instant that the previous course was cleared. I hated that…and it STILL took us over four hours. I’ve found the same is often true at a number of places in Chicago as well.) Our server may (or may not) have been the sommelier, but he knew every wine on the list (admittedly not terribly long) in detail and gave excellent advice. [PS: I just discovered that our server was, in fact, Aaron McManus, formerly sommelier at Intro Chicago. No wonder!] I’ve preferred a couple glasses to pairings for a number of years now: I find that pairings, though they can be excellent and well-curated, are often too much alcohol and that I can’t recall more than one or two of them at best. My choices were a Sancerre for the first half of dinner and a St. Joseph (largely syrah) for the latter (savory) few courses.

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    GOLDEN OSETRA CAVIAR—tomato sorbet, crème fraîche and sea grape

    What an intriguing introduction to dinner. The tomato sorbet, a wholly unexpected complement, matched with the classic crème fraiche, to create a lovely introduction to a dinner filled with surprises.

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    LANGOUSTINE—shio kombu, rhubarb and mint

    Presented as an egg roll, this was an intriguing dish. It is, in fact, one of the few dishes of the evening that I wish had been larger so that I could finally decide what I thought. I enjoyed what was presented, but in the event the roll was about 1½ inches long and, much as I enjoyed it, I would have appreciated another bite because the combination was unusual. Indeed, that is one of the things I most enjoyed about the whole evening: unusual and unexpected combinations of flavors as well as textures. Here, a second bite would, I think, have helped me make up my mind. Given my overall pleasure from most every other course, I cannot help but think that a second bite would have confirmed my happiness with this course as well.

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    MADAI NIGIRI—yuzu kosho and genmai powder

    Red sea bream. One of the courses that I found truly extraordinary. A fairly simple preparation highlighting the quality of each ingredient and, though I wondered when it was first set down, the sprinkling of genmaicha (roasted brown rice and green tea…rice krispies are the closest analog I can imagine) on top was a genius touch. It added both crunch and unique flavor and I thought the course easily one of the best of the night, or longer.

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    BEAUSOLEIL OYSTER—ibérico consommé and finger lime

    I’m not an oyster guy but even I could tell that this was a top-notch plate. I found the jamon iberico consomme a wonderful and unusual complement and I liked the course far more than I anticipated I would.

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    JAMÓN IBÉRICO DE BELLOTA—black walnut, egg yolk and campo de montalban
    [Apologies for yet another in a series of abysmal pictures]

    What’s not to love here? Even had the portion of jamon been smaller, this was a knockout dish. But the kitchen was quite generous and the whole readily added up to more than the sum of the parts. (Campo de montalban is an aged Spanish cheese of milks from cows, sheep, and goats.)

    Image and Image
    HUDSON VALLEY FOIE GRAS—tiny strawberries, pink peppercorn “cracker,” and chanterelle

    This was one dish I felt slightly let down by. Although the description had my mouth watering, it didn’t quite seem to come together in the way I expected. The sum of the parts was the sum of the parts, not more. Don’t misunderstand: as with all the courses, the quality of the ingredients is exceptional and I enjoyed the course…I guess I expected to be blown away and I wasn’t. So an A+ instead of an A++.

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    ALASKAN KING CRAB—watermelon and nuóc mâm

    Brilliant pairings arrive ensconced in a small bowl. Server proceeds to pour in a very light spring onion “soup.” Wow. I don’t think there’s much more to add.

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    SOURDOUGH—cultured butter and local grains

    I had kinda missed having some bread on the table and when this arrived, I was hopeful…though I’ll admit to being a little offput by the heavy sprinkling of wheat berries and barley. As soon as I put it in my mouth I realized that this was an absolutely stellar thing. Perfect bread, perfect butter (made in-house) and the wheat berries put it over the top. Bread and butter, yeah. But one of the most extraordinary things of the entire evening.

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    CAPELLINI—australian winter truffle, rye berry and yeast

    One of the very best courses of the evening. Once it was set down and explained, I’ll confess to a little let-down. Hmmm. Pasta, huh? Looks a little…uninteresting. Then chef comes out and grates a very generous portion of truffle on top. Okay, unprepossessing looking pasta with a lot of truffle. Hmmm. But the proof is in the pudding (an odd expression, if you ask me). And once this landed in my mouth: perfection. I cannot recall a single better dish in the past year, perhaps longer. Beyond rich. Beyond full of flavor. Perfection…or very damn close.

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    JAPANESE A5 WAGYU—charred little gem lettuce, furikake and sesame leaf

    For me, another one of the “merely” A+ dishes. For LDC, this course knocked it out of the park.

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    LAMB BELLY—huckleberry, rapini and chermoula

    LDC is not a fan of lamb. The better for me. Not sure I’ve ever had lamb belly and this was a lovely introduction. I enjoyed the interplay of ingredients and liked the dish, but this was not one of the hits of the evening.

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    PISTACHIO GELATO—seedling farm peach and elderflower

    I cannot imagine a course featuring a pistachio ice-cream, pistachio gelato, or pistachio custard doing anything other than pleasing me enormously. This course was no exception. The gelato was lovely and enjoyable. As was the peach. My sole reservation relates to the combination. While they certainly did not oppose each other, I guess I’m just not completely convinced that they were a match made in heaven either.

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    GIANDUJA—pretzel lavash, raclette and black currant

    It may not have tickled LDC’s taste buds but I thought it was superb. The little pretzel lavash was the perfect counterpoint to the startling array of goodies spread across the top. How to sample everything, was the problem. Taking a tiny taste of each seemed silly and yet how else to appreciate each component? But I decided to just take the plunge and bite off half the lavash. Heaven on a “stick.”

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    CHICORY CUSTARD—whiskey, cinnamon and tahitian vanilla

    Very enjoyable. I’m a fan of bitter things and even I would never have guessed that one could enjoy a custard made from this bitter root. The pairings were pretty classic but after a meal that left me fairly well sated, this was a pleasure in every way: texture, lightness, and flavor. A delight.

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    ALMOND CROISSANT—rose, cardamom and acacia honey

    Truth to tell, the LDC is still having trouble getting past the idea of a croissant for dessert. Certainly not a “standard” almond croissant. And, frankly, all the better for precisely that reason. Small yet wonderful. I could have stood just a bit more almond flavor, but that’s probably me. An offbeat, yet completely successful course.

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    CHOCOLATE PASSIONFRUIT PIE

    Now this is what a mignardise should be. Actually, more in the nature of a lagniappe. But what the hell. After dinner ended, we were presented with small, bakery “to-go” boxes. Nestled inside, a perfect little pie. Absolutely gorgeous, as I hope the picture attests. I had several bites of crust first and this is pie, ladies and gentlemen. Now I like passionfruit and I like chocolate and although this turned out to be better than I anticipated, I still have to confess that I don’t think that these two complement each other. This is not, at least in my book, a match made in heaven. That said, I’d love to see what other kinds of pies their dessert chef/kitchen can whip up.

    Two and a half hours after it began, this startlingly good dinner ends. No wonder that Phil Vettel and Jeff Ruby agree—this is, barely half a year after opening, a four star place and Chicago's next great restaurant. In the precisely on-point words of Mr. Gary Wiviott: “Oriole, count me a fan!”
    Last edited by Gypsy Boy on September 24th, 2016, 8:38 am, edited 4 times in total.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #6 - September 21st, 2016, 6:29 pm
    Post #6 - September 21st, 2016, 6:29 pm Post #6 - September 21st, 2016, 6:29 pm
    Hey incite, where the hell are your pics??? They're much better than mine. In any event, incite and I enjoyed a fantastic meal at Oriole just over a month ago. Food and service were all first rate. Food-wise, some similar themes to a dinner at 42 Grams with many Japanese and Spanish flavors/ingredients. By the way, based on the madai nigiri, I'd say that if these folks decided to open up a sushi restaurant, it would easily be the best in the city -- impressive fish and rice. As things stand, I'd be surprised if they don't get two Michelin stars.

    And if you really want to know how special Oriole is, I accidentally left my parting gift (blueberry pie) at the restaurant. Just as I realized this (15 or so minutes after leaving and at the point of no return), my phone rings. They called me up to let me know and offered to hold onto the pie as long as needed for me to return. Well, I couldn't return, but I appreciated the gesture . . . and incite's willingness to share a piece of his with me.
    I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)

    Twitter: brbinchicago
  • Post #7 - November 30th, 2016, 11:18 pm
    Post #7 - November 30th, 2016, 11:18 pm Post #7 - November 30th, 2016, 11:18 pm
    I recently had a spectacular meal at Oriole. The two stars from Michelin is well deserved. Service is friendly, professional and uninstrusive, while the food is delicious, complex, edible art. Well worth the expense.

    ImageOsetra Caviar

    ImageLangoustine

    ImageHamachi

    ImageBeef Tendon

    ImageCanteloupe

    ImageJamon Iberico

    ImageCardinal Prawn

    ImageHudson Canyon Scallop

    ImageSourdough

    ImageCapellini with truffle

    ImageJapanese A5 Wagyu

    ImageLemon Tea

    ImageCroissant

    ImagePistachio Gelato

    ImageMignardises
  • Post #8 - June 5th, 2017, 9:41 am
    Post #8 - June 5th, 2017, 9:41 am Post #8 - June 5th, 2017, 9:41 am
    I dined here last month for an anniversary dinner and was blown away by the food and service. At only $190/person, this meal felt like one of the better deals available in the city for a complete tasting menu. The service was extremely personal and it seemed like every FOH staff-person congratulated us on the anniversary and spent some time to chat with and get to know us throughout the night.

    Oriole earned its two stars and like many (Phil Vettel included), I wouldn't be surprised if they earn a third soon after having a year to really iron any few wrinkles they had their rookie year.

    I may decide to post some pictures of my meal later if I can get off my lazy butt and upload/caption the photos!
  • Post #9 - June 9th, 2017, 11:01 pm
    Post #9 - June 9th, 2017, 11:01 pm Post #9 - June 9th, 2017, 11:01 pm
    Here are some images from our dinner. We opted for the non-alcoholic pairings this evening, which were made by the lauded Julia Momose. Some of the highlights of the night include (in order): (1) Squab Breast, (2) Loch Duart Salmon, (3) Capellini, (4) Golden Osetra Caviar, and (5) Rhubarb Pie. As mentioned earlier, this was probably my favorite dinner in Chicago--over other notables such as Alinea, Acadia, and several Next dinners (including the superb 'Ancient Rome' menu). I'd highly recommend anyone to try Oriole out, especially at the price.

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    BREAD AND BUTTER

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    GOLDEN OSETRA CAVIAR - coconut dashi, lychee, and sea grape

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    FRAISES DES BOIS - foie gras mousse, pistachio, and ras el hanout

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    SCOTTISH LANGOUSTINE - spring roll with shio kombu, rhubarb, and mint

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    KAMPACHI - nigiri with yuzu kosho and genmai

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    BEEF TENDON WITH BONE BROTH (not pictured) - puffed with wagyu tartare (broth: vietnamese coriander, cinammon, and lemongrass)

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    BEAUSOLEIL OYSTER WITH JAMON MANGALICA - mangalica consommé, finger lime, and borage

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    WHOLESOME - gin botanicals, osmanthus, bitter lemon, and herbs

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    LOCH DUART SALMON - smoked roe, spring onion, and fresh herbs

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    SOURDOUGH - with cultured butter and puffed grains

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    CAPELLINI - Italian summer truffle, rye berry, and yeast

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    JAPANESE A5 WAGYU - charred little gem, furikake, and sesame leaf

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    SQUAB BREAST - Hudson Valley foie gras, dried wild blueberry, and oxalis

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    CROISSANT (and 'CUCUMBER' -- not pictured) - raclette and rosemary apple butter

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    CAPPUCCINO (Supplement) - custard with whiskey, orange, and cinnamon

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    CHICORY - custard with wishkey, orange, and cinnamon

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    MIGNARDISES - black currant, salted caramel, and fernet

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    RHUBARB PIE
  • Post #10 - June 10th, 2017, 1:13 am
    Post #10 - June 10th, 2017, 1:13 am Post #10 - June 10th, 2017, 1:13 am
    Wow! Tremendous shots. Thanks very much for posting them. They really make me want to get back to Oriole asap. It's also nice to see that Julia Momose is continuing her gorgeous, distinctive work since leaving Green River.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #11 - June 10th, 2017, 9:05 am
    Post #11 - June 10th, 2017, 9:05 am Post #11 - June 10th, 2017, 9:05 am
    Beautiful pictures Behavioral!

    I was there in March. Our menu (below) was almost identical so I'll probably wait some before returning.

    Image




    This meal was every bit as great as my first meal, better probably. But in terms of flavors and service, this is probably my favorite fine dining restaurant in the city these days. They're really knocking it out of the park.
    I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)

    Twitter: brbinchicago
  • Post #12 - June 10th, 2017, 9:09 am
    Post #12 - June 10th, 2017, 9:09 am Post #12 - June 10th, 2017, 9:09 am
    BR wrote:Beautiful pictures Behavioral!

    I was there in March. Our menu (below) was almost identical so I'll probably wait some before returning.

    Image




    This meal was every bit as great as my first meal, better probably. But in terms of flavors and service, this is probably my favorite fine dining restaurant in the city these days. They're really knocking it out of the park.


    +1. Only $ meal I've had this year that has me thinking about when I can go back. Spectacular.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #13 - June 10th, 2017, 4:27 pm
    Post #13 - June 10th, 2017, 4:27 pm Post #13 - June 10th, 2017, 4:27 pm
    Thank you for the kind words, ronnie_suburban, BR, and boudreaulicious!

    My S/O and I were expecting a lot on our first visit and they still managed to completely floor us and exceed our expectations.

    ronnie_suburban wrote:It's also nice to see that Julia Momose is continuing her gorgeous, distinctive work since leaving Green River.


    Agreed! I've been following her from Aviary/Office to GreenRiver, and now to Oriole. She's definitely taken over the role of 'top' mixologist since Charles Joly has focused his time to developing Crafthouse. Her non-alcoholic cocktail pairings were very distinctive, intriguing, delicious, and a steal at only $75 for about 10 cocktails. I typically opt for non-alcoholic cocktail pairings when offered (e.g., big fan of Next's) because 1) I'm not as knowledgeable about wine, so I don't appreciate the nuance of each glass, 2) I don't like to get too drunk when I am trying to enjoy a more $$ meal, and 3) I feel like the degree of freedom that cocktails allow for is unmatched by wine (and secretly 4) They are much more gorgeous to look at/photograph!).

    BR wrote:But in terms of flavors and service, this is probably my favorite fine dining restaurant in the city these days.


    Agreed! I have to try Grace for the first time and revisit Alinea at some point, but so far Oriole is extremely impressive. I'm definitely pulling for the team to win their 3rd star later this year since it's on par with or even superior to the other restaurants in that caliber (Alinea, EMP, Le Bernardin, JG, French Laundry).

    boudreaulicious wrote:Only $ meal I've had this year that has me thinking about when I can go back. Spectacular.


    I loved it enough that I was already trying to find an occasion to revisit later in 2017. My wallet usually hurts for a long time after tasting menus, but this one was the first time that I couldn't wait to go back.
  • Post #14 - June 11th, 2017, 6:45 am
    Post #14 - June 11th, 2017, 6:45 am Post #14 - June 11th, 2017, 6:45 am
    dang 8)
  • Post #15 - July 15th, 2017, 12:06 pm
    Post #15 - July 15th, 2017, 12:06 pm Post #15 - July 15th, 2017, 12:06 pm
    Dined here the other night, and while I think our days of paying this much for a meal are now gone - generally leaves a bad taste in my mouth - I could not have had a better meal or a better experience. The food was, of course, incredible (my wife noted echoes of One Sister, back when there was a One Sister), but it was a number of other details that really sealed the deal.

    For starters, the sommelier (who also helped serve) made sure to note that the wine pairings were overwhelmingly white, and as I'm not a big fan of white I appreciated the heads up. My wife chose a few a la carte glasses, which he helped pick (both white and red) based on the dish. I went for the non-alcoholic pairings, most tea based, a couple designed to mimic alcoholic drinks (like red wine, and Old Fashioned and a Gin & Tonic) and all really creative, sometimes beautiful, and always perfectly paired to the dish.

    Other details: it was our anniversary, and at the end of the meal we got a card signed with nice notes written by the restaurant's entire staff, and our souvenir copy of the menu was personalized as well. And as for another little thing, at one point I needed to leave to add time to the parking meter. When I asked how to sneak out, they instead insisted on paying for my parking, took down my license plate number, snuck out and did it themselves! Felt very generous and thoughtful, even in the context of an expensive, fine-dining experience.

    And on this final point, I've never felt more comfortable or at ease in such an expensive place. I mean, service at places like Alinea is exemplary, but at Oriole it just feels so down to earth, so modest, in the best sense. Great space, great food, great experience, didn't leave hungry, didn't leave drunk or overstuffed. The perfect balance of all good things.
  • Post #16 - October 10th, 2017, 1:50 pm
    Post #16 - October 10th, 2017, 1:50 pm Post #16 - October 10th, 2017, 1:50 pm
    Vitesse98 wrote:Dined here the other night, and while I think our days of paying this much for a meal are now gone - generally leaves a bad taste in my mouth - I could not have had a better meal or a better experience. The food was, of course, incredible . . .

    Even with 2+ months remaining in 2017, I'm confident that our meal at Oriole in early August will definitely end up as my favorite high-end meal of the year. And while I'd never refer to an $800 meal for 2 as a value, as things in this category go, this experience was top of the charts. We actually shared 1 reserve pairing, which was just about perfect for us. A few tastes of some of the non-reserve pairings were also shared with us. Yes, it's a lot of dough but as worth it as any such experience can be.

    Vitesse98 wrote:For starters, the sommelier . . .

    Aaron McManus, superstar. I really cannot remember having more delicious, astutely paired beverages with a meal. I think he made some really intuitive choices, especially on the non-wine side and his candor about how some pairings came to be was refreshing. It was just great to experience this level of knowledge and enthusiasm . . . and friendliness.

    Vitesse98 wrote:And on this final point, I've never felt more comfortable or at ease in such an expensive place. I mean, service at places like Alinea is exemplary, but at Oriole it just feels so down to earth, so modest, in the best sense. Great space, great food, great experience, didn't leave hungry, didn't leave drunk or overstuffed. The perfect balance of all good things.

    I think you've summed it up really nicely. I've now been to Oriole twice and it sparkles in my memory as an across-the-board exceptional dining destination. I'm certainly comfortable at other high-end venues (probably because I'm too oblivious to know any better) but there's a warmth projected at Oriole that sets it apart.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #17 - October 11th, 2017, 2:15 pm
    Post #17 - October 11th, 2017, 2:15 pm Post #17 - October 11th, 2017, 2:15 pm
    Vitesse98 wrote:I could not have had a better meal or a better experience.


    Great review and I agree wholeheartedly! After having gone in May, I'm looking to try and go back sometime soon. It's such a special restaurant and I'm so glad we as Chicagoans get to enjoy it.
  • Post #18 - March 27th, 2018, 9:35 am
    Post #18 - March 27th, 2018, 9:35 am Post #18 - March 27th, 2018, 9:35 am
    It has been reported that the chef and pastry chef of Oriole are leaving at the end of March. It appears to be an amicable departure, and those underneath them will be taking over. A bummer for me as we have reservations for dinner there the first week of April. Hopefully the transition will be smooth.
  • Post #19 - March 27th, 2018, 9:56 am
    Post #19 - March 27th, 2018, 9:56 am Post #19 - March 27th, 2018, 9:56 am
    Jonah wrote:It has been reported that the chef and pastry chef of Oriole are leaving at the end of March. It appears to be an amicable departure, and those underneath them will be taking over. A bummer for me as we have reservations for dinner there the first week of April. Hopefully the transition will be smooth.

    4-star Oriole restaurant losing chef de cuisine and pastry chef
    Four-star Oriole (661 W. Walnut St.) will lose two key team members, when pastry chef Genie Kwon and chef de cuisine Tim Flores depart at the end of the month.

    Happily, this post is inaccurate. It's not the Chef but the Chef de Cuisine that is leaving. Huge difference. Phew!

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #20 - March 27th, 2018, 4:39 pm
    Post #20 - March 27th, 2018, 4:39 pm Post #20 - March 27th, 2018, 4:39 pm
    Ronnie S: Thanks for catching that. The subtleties of executive chef v. chef de cuisine went right by me. Makes me feel better about my wife's birthday dinner!
  • Post #21 - March 27th, 2018, 5:04 pm
    Post #21 - March 27th, 2018, 5:04 pm Post #21 - March 27th, 2018, 5:04 pm
    As for the executive chef (and owner), Noah Sandoval, no worries, since he's quoted in the article as follows:

    “It’s definitely positive for everybody,” he said. “I obviously couldn’t have done this (Oriole) without her, but you can’t stay in something forever. I mean, this is where I’m going to be forever, but it’s unrealistic to expect that of everybody else.”
  • Post #22 - March 27th, 2018, 5:06 pm
    Post #22 - March 27th, 2018, 5:06 pm Post #22 - March 27th, 2018, 5:06 pm
    Jonah wrote:Ronnie S: Thanks for catching that. The subtleties of executive chef v. chef de cuisine went right by me. Makes me feel better about my wife's birthday dinner!

    LOL, I was getting seriously depressed when I read that. And I don't mean to minimize the departures because that's some serious talent leaving the building. But I'm glad to know that Oriole's primary vision is still in place. I'm sure you'll have an awesome time.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #23 - April 7th, 2018, 7:02 am
    Post #23 - April 7th, 2018, 7:02 am Post #23 - April 7th, 2018, 7:02 am
    Happy to report that based on our experience Oriole is as good as ever. Thought our well-paced meal was about as tasty as food can get.

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