The Sixteen Restaurant at Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago will dazzle the senses with Executive Chef Frank Brunacci's innovative cuisine along with the stunning views of the Wrigley Building and the Tribune Tower from the restaurant's 16th floor location.
The first thing that I noticed when I entered the dining room of Sixteen was the dramatically sophisticated curving wall of floor to ceiling windows that offered a breathtaking view of the Chicago skyline in the background, and commanding views of the ornate architecture of the Wrigley Building and the Tribune Tower in the foreground.
Edward and I had dinner at Sixteen in June 2009, where we sat at a prime table by the window that Esquire Magazine called the "Table of the Year," a designation to which we readily concurred. From our table we had an opportunity to view the intricate details of the 1920s Wrigley Building, and the gothic style Tribune Tower built in 1925. This was definitely a table with a view from which to watch the sunset, a table designed for romance.
When I could finally take my eyes away from the view, I began to notice the other details of the room, namely the 35-foot ceiling, the curving wall of rich wood, the immense four-tiered sparkling chandelier, and the brown floral design on the beige carpet. Cream leather chairs flanked tables opulently dressed with beige and cream striped linens over mushroom under linens, that were accessorized with rectangular glass chargers with bronze borders, yellow orchids in cone shape glass vases suspended from a stand, along with votive candles to softly illuminate the room, and low music completing the romantic ambience.
Rick, our server, began our evening with aperitifs of Perrier-Jouët champagne as we set off on a culinary adventure of surprise tasting with Executive Chef Frank Brunacci. The first surprise to arrive was a tasty Amuse Bouche of sunchoke soup with duck sausage served in an Asian spoon and garnished with herbs. This was a lovely way to wake up our palates to accompany the brilliant orange sunset.
Our next surprise was Pacific Rock Lobster with crème fraiche, aioli, celery, and parsley, that was wrapped in a wonton tuille, accompanied by Meyer lemon sauce, baby greens, and avocado mousse topped with slivered breakfast radish. This was a beautiful presentation that deftly combined taste and style, with a thin slice of lobster tail topped with Pacific rock lobster salad wrapped in a circular tuile that added visual interest as well as texture, that was complemented by the tartness of the Meyer lemon sauce, the creaminess of the avocado mousse, and the hint of spice from the radish, and was well paired with a 2007 Qupé, Marsanne, 12.5% alcohol, made with 88% Marsanne and 12% Roussanne, from Santa Ynez Valley, California, which had light guava notes that complemented the shellfish.
Pacific Rock Lobster
Edward's next course of a rich Braised Pork Belly accompanied by a pork taco with plantains, pineapple, and pea shoots that Wine Director Steven Lee paired with a 2008 Littorai, Vin Gris, Pinot Noir, from Anderson Valley, California, arrived as the sky began to darken and the Wrigley Building Clock Tower turned on its lights that changed intermittently from green, to blue, to orange, adding another sensory level to the evening.
Braised Pork Belly
My next tasting was a lovely Tomato Gelee soup that arrived as a clear gelee in the bottom of a deep round bowl studded with blue point oysters that were marinated in white wine, pistachio oil, with watermelon, cantaloupe, and a cilantro foam, that was finished tableside with the addition of a tomato gazpacho made with roasted tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and bread.
A Pan Seared Diver Scallop followed that was absolute perfection, that was seared in hazelnut butter with a delicate crust and was served with truffle polenta, and poached rhubarb and shaved fennel salad with rhubarb sauce presented on a square white rolled plate. The course was well complemented with an aromatic 2007 Eroica, Riesling, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Dr. Loosen, 12% alcohol, from Columbia Valley, Washington.
Edward's next tasting consisted of veal tenderloin with chorizo sausage served with corn salad, chopped horseradish and white polenta, and a veal rib wrapped with Swiss chard served on a round plate with a half trail of sauce accent paired with a 2006 d'Arenberg The Cadenzia, Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvedre, from McLaren Vale, Australia.
My culinary adventure continued with Pan Sautéed Striped Bass, with spring fava beans, baby turnips, cumin dusted polenta cake with green tomato chutney, and a tempura squash blossom that was filled with delicate halibut mousse, accompanied by black cardamom and carrot jus, that was attractively presented on a rectangular plate. Steven Lee paired this delightful course with a 2007 Lewis Cellars, Chardonnay, Sonoma County, 14.5% alcohol, from Russian River Valley, California.
Pan Sautéed Striped Bass
By now the evening sky was dramatically dark and fog had begun to roll-in from the Chicago River that enveloped the buildings like a scrim in a play, with the lights of the Wrigley Clock Tower misty and seductive.
Edward continued with a lamb medley that consisted of rack of lamb, spicy lamb roll, and lamb sausage with golden raisins, pinenuts, and Swiss chard that was presented on a white eye-shaped plate and paired with a 2006 Termes, Tempranillo from Spain which had medium body, was spicy and aromatic on the nose, with cherry, licorice, and roasted coffee on the palate.
Chef Frank Brunacci continued my journey with applewood smoked yellowtail kingfish that was presented on a rolled edge white plate that he used like an artist uses a canvas with his imaginative presentation with a wide stripe of reduced beet jus painted down the center of the plate, the fish placed in the center on a bed of broccolini, crowned with roasted baby candy stripe and golden beets and herbs with a cucumber milk foam, and a quenelle of cauliflower and olive tapenade balanced at the top edge of the plate. Paired with a 2006 Lachini, Pinot Noir, 14.2% alcohol, Willamette Valley, Oregon, this was another fabulous course.
For the cheese course, Chef Frank Brunacci took a different approach, and instead of offering a selection of cheeses, sent us light and tender goat cheese gnocchi that melted in the mouth that were made with semolina flour, potato, egg, goat cheese, salt and pepper, with a white truffle foam and herbs presented on a rectangular glass plate.
The next arrival for Edward was a gorgeous pre-dessert of mango supreme with white chocolate mousse, mango and hibiscus jam with a quenelle of Chinese 5-spice powder ice cream, and a mango reduction sauce paired with a 2002 Chateau Tirecul La Gravière, Monbazillac, from the Southwest of France that had an aromatic nose of apricot, peach, and vanilla and was similar to a Sauternes.
My pre-dessert was strawberries in all stages, which consisted of a pistachio based cake with strawberry gelee, fresh strawberries with mint and basil mousse, and tiny diced strawberry with Cointreau, mint, and basil, strawberry sorbet, strawberry ravioli, and strawberry juice that was paired with a 2008 Innocent Bystander, Moscato, 5.5% alcohol, made from Gordo Muscat and Black Muscat grapes from Australia that was like drinking liquid strawberries.
For Edward's dessert, there was a chocolate lover's fantasy, the chocolate trilogy consisting of housemade chocolate ice cream, crisp chocolate pavlova, baked chocolate meringue, milk chocolate mousse tart with mango gelee with pulled sugar art, and a molten chocolate cake with an orange and passion fruit sauce, that was paired with a Solera 1847, Oloroso Dulce, Jerez-Xeres-Sherry, 18% alcohol, from Gonzalez Byass, Spain.
My dessert was a rich pairing of an almond base cake topped with an espresso and whiskey soufflé cream that had a crème brulee-like top, a quenelle of Bailey's ice cream, and a glass filled with Bailey's reduction sauce, whiskey gelee, espresso granité, chantilly cream, and dusted with cocoa powder that was like a deconstructed Irish coffee and was paired with The Rare Wine Company Historic Series, Madeira, Boston Bual Special Reserve, 19% alcohol, from Portugal.
Almond Cake, Whiskey Soufflé Dessert
For a grand finale to our extraordinary evening of tasting, Rick brought us what I can best describe as a glass stairway with seven "steps" to pastry paradise that featured a coconut roché, chocolate macaron, sour cherry financier, housemade chocolate truffle with coffee center, caramel, rose and pistachio nougatine, and raspberry pâté.
Before making our way out of the restaurant, we took one long last look at the spectacular view of the illuminated Chicago skyline, committing it to memory along with that of the fantastic evening experiencing Executive Chef Frank Brunacci's innovative cuisine, until we return and experience it all again.
For guests that want to enjoy a cocktail with a spectacular view, it does not get any better than the Bar at Sixteen, which shares the same view as the restaurant, Sixteen. During the summer months, the terrace is open making it the perfect place to watch the fireworks on Wednesday and Saturday nights.
Sixteen is open for lunch Monday - Saturday from 11:30 am - 2:00 pm, for Sunday Brunch from 11:00 am - 3:00 pm, and for dinner Sunday - Thursday from 5:30 pm - 9:30 am, and Friday - Saturday from 5:30 pm - 10:00 pm.
Read about Trump International Hotel &Tower Chicago in the Destinations, Hotels and Resorts and Spas sections, and in Chefs' Recipes where Executive Chef Frank Brunacci shares his signature recipe for Duck Percik.
Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago
401 N. Wabash Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611, United States
Toll Free: +1-877-458-7867
Toll Free: +1-877-45-TRUMP
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