Situated across the street from Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago, The Gage's location alone guarantees brisk business all day long, especially during the lunch rush. But as Blake pointed out earlier this year, this doesn't mean that the restaurant is resting on its laurels. Add another feather to its cap for the Smoked Salmon Sandwich ($16.00), by far the best sandwich I've eaten in recent memory.
Essentially a gussied up BLT, the sandwich features pastrami-smoked Nova Scotian salmon, bacon, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, grain mustard, and pickle aioli, all artfully layered between two slices of sourdough bread. The amount of smoky, salty salmon slices alone justifies the price of the sandwich, but all the elements pull their weight in this messy-but-balanced sandwich.
The tomatoes were ripe without a hint of mealiness, and the bacon upped the smoky-salty game brought by the salmon. Most memorable, though, was the interplay between the paper-thin cucumber slices and the pickle aioli. Given the choice between fresh and pickled as a sandwich topping, I'll take my cucumbers preserved any day of the week. Here, though, I didn't have to choose: the cool cucumber lightened the sandwich considerably, while the creamy pickle juice-spiked aioli added just the right amount of acid to the sandwich. I don't know how well the fries will travel, but I'm certainly going to enjoy one of these sandwiches al fresco in Millennium Park before summer is gone for good. I suggest you do the same.