Is Grace the Best Fine Dining Restaurant for Vegetarians in Chicago?
Editor's Note: Amber has been covering the vegetarian options in the city for the past few months, so when she had the chance to check out Grace's vegetarian flora menu, I couldn't wait to hear what she had to say. She also borrowed my camera, so she could capture chef Curtis Duffy's meticulously prepared dishes. I'll let her take it from here.
Grace is by no means a vegetarian restaurant. However, it's probably the best fine dining option for vegetarians in the city. The carefully composed dishes that chef Curtis Duffy and his team put together are unfailingly elegant—true works of art. From the white asparagus soup smoking from liquid nitrogen to the bright magenta rhubarb dessert, I found myself ogling each course before ravaging the plate with my fork. Even for non-vegetarians, the Flora menu is worth a try and arguably better than the meaty Fauna menu.
As a testament to his efforts, Duffy charges the same price—$185—for both menus. Some restaurants (Everest, the late Charlie Trotter's) charge less for a meatless tasting, but Duffy's price reflects his philosophy that the ingredients and preparation are equal for both.
While each dish has many components, including exotic ingredients like preserved daikon and black barley, Duffy manages to bring the plate together with balanced flavors so a dish can be enjoyed either piece by piece or with all flavors swirled together. Certain components, like shaved vegetables and microgreen/edible flower details, are repeated throughout the meal. They don't become redundant, but are instead threads that weave the menu together.
Check Grace's full flora menu by clicking on the slideshow.