Serious Eats: Chicago
The Vegetarian Option: Look in the The Lobby for the Best Restaurant Week Special
Lunch at The Lobby was the best Restaurant Week meal I had this year. For just $22, I enjoyed an incredible three-course meal, including bread service with both multigrain and baguette breads along with two butters, goat's milk with herb salt and regular butter with dill. The baguette with goat's milk butter was my favorite combination. I normally love seeing sunflower and flax seeds on bread, but the baguette had a better crust and chew.
There were two choices for the starter, entrée, and dessert and you could choose a vegetarian starter and entree for a squash-themed meal.
The roasted winter squash salad had crunchy puffed wild rice and a light and tangy Greek yogurt dressing, along with smoked paprika, date purée, and dark chocolate shavings. This was a wonderful example of seasonal cuisine, embracing winter with earthy flavors that managed to remain a light beginning to lunch.
For the main course, a hand-rolled cavatelli pasta was topped with butternut squash, kale, sage, and parmesan. The cheese sauce was not heavy as I feared, allowing the al dente pasta and fresh vegetables to shine. Chef de Cuisine Lee Wolen knows that when he has beautiful ingredients, he doesn't need to do too much to create deliciousness.
Both desserts, a hazelnut financier with espresso cream and chocolate sorbet, and sticky toffee pudding with coconut and rum raisin ice cream, were naturally vegetarian. Of the two, the pudding was better, since it was so moist and paired well with the slightly boozy ice cream.