I want to talk about tops. Top experiences, top priorities (SAG election: vote Unite4Strength!), top dogs (Skye, Bill, Escort and Ruby), and top trekking (Vision Walk to fight blindness). While researching some top things, I came across a YouTube video of Cole Porter playing and singing, “You’re the Top.” That brought me to thinking about dining at Everest, in our latest top city, Chicago. Luckily, if I need to taste Chicago here, then it’s off to Arlene and Joe Mantegna’s Burbank Italian paradise called “Taste Chicago” for a quick fix, a real plate of spaghetti and meatballs, Chicago Dogs, or a Polish.
My first Polish was in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Munching and gazing at the sublime Bean (“Cloud Gate”). And then, there’s Chicago’s highest form of dining, EVEREST!
Everest, the highest worldly mountain, verbally signifies, “the top.” Everest is also the name of a dream restaurant atop the Stock Exchange in Chicago. Forty stories high. Palatial and comfortable, Everest offers the very top in fine dining. David Johnston, the Restaurant and Wine Director, warmly tended to us. The view from our window table was a dazzling sight of the Chicago River as it flowed past the monumental Merchandise Mart. The city lit up by a thousand twinkling lights. The dining room was glowing with sensitive lighting and contemporary art everywhere. An impressive, delightful and unique bronze statue was on every table. Ours was a little man, seemingly bent by an invisible wind. They are the work of Ivo Soldini, a brilliant sculptor from one of our favorite cities, Lugano, Switzerland. And in the Everest kitchen, another artist creates his own culinary masterpieces. (To see for yourself right now, Google Everest Chicago, and peruse the menus, the art and the golden grandness that is Everest.)
Chef Patron J. Joho transported us with a feast featuring some of his marvelous signature dishes with matching wines. Arctic Char (2006 Marc Bredif Vouvray from Loire, France). Roasted Maine Lobster in Alsace Gewurztraminer butter and ginger (2007 Gewurztraminer Bollenberg, from Château d’Orschwihr in Alsace, France). Olive oil poached Halibut (2006 Jordan Chardonnay from Russian River Valley, California). Filet of Wisconsin veal tenderloin, chanterelles and Michigan asparagus (2006 Marlborough Pinot Noir from Dog Point Vineyard, New Zealand). Strawberry champagne soup, blueberry financier, coconut and apricot gelee, glace au fromage blanc and Black Forest cake 209 (2007 André Andrieux Eaux-de-Vie Kirsch d’Alsace with Muscat de Beaumes de Venise from Rhone, France). Then sweets and chocolates galore. We were high as Everest from the top-flight wining/dining. So, a good reason, besides my enchanting Bean, to head for Chicago!
Tips of the Tocque
Chef Joho’s credentials and awards could easily fill this entire column. So, the highlights: originally the chef is from Alsace, France where, at the age of 13, he apprenticed at the famous L’Auberge de L’ill. Joho went on to other kitchens in France, Italy and Switzerland. After opening Everest, he was soon showered with accolades including a five-diamond rating from AAA, the Mobil Dining Award, “Best Restaurant for Business Dining” by Gourmet Magazine and “Best Restaurant in Chicago” by Chicago Magazine. And the Chef and Everest deserve their place as a member of Relais & Châteaux/Relais Gourmand, Le Grande Table du Monde and Mâitres Cuisinier de France (among other prestigious groups).
I know, fancy, but we just saw “Julie and Julia.” And every so often, it’s a wonder to live the high life. So a towering recommendation that you pay a visit to Everest when you’re in Chicago or to Joho’s authentic French brasseries (one in Chicago, one in Boston), or closer to home, The Eiffel Tower Restaurant in the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas…
More ‘tops’ to come…