// SA­VORY SUR­PRISE

SPICY, SALTY, EARTHY, AND HERBA­CEOUS— UN­EX­PECT­EDLY SA­VORY FLA­VORS ARE THE NEW DESSERT STARS AT SOME OF CHICAGO’S HOTTEST RESTAU­RANTS.

Michigan Avenue - - CONTENTS - BY AM­BER GIB­SON

Spicy, salty, earthy, herba­ceous— un­ex­pect­edly sa­vory fla­vors are the city’s new dessert stars.

When it comes to desserts in Chicago, one thing is cer­tain: Sa­vory is the new sweet—and top chefs are pulling out the stops to ex­plore this buzzy new fla­vor pro­file. Like Fifty/50 Group ex­ec­u­tive pas­try chef Chris Teix­eira, whose sa­vory s’mores at Stead­fast (120 W. Mon­roe St., 312801-8899; stead­fast chicago.com) fea­ture a rose­mary marsh­mal­low and rose­mary-in­fused milk-cho­co­late ganache. Says Teix­eira, “I wanted to show that a fla­vor as strong as rose­mary can still be del­i­cate.”

Cheese meets dessert at Bin 36 (161 N. Jefferson St., 312-995-6560; bin36.com): Pecorino Ro­mano panna cotta is topped with ap­ple­and-pink-pep­per­corn gelée and crunchy can­died wal­nuts for a light tran­si­tion from sa­vory to sweet.

Even cho­co­late gets the sa­vory treat­ment at Old Town’s Co­coa + Co. (1651 N. Wells St., 312624-8540; co­coaandco .com), where Kim Hack spikes her most unique drink­ing cho­co­late not with booze but a med­ley of spices—freshly ground cumin, co­rian­der, gin­ger, black pep­per, cin­na­mon, and cloves, from The Spice House—for a sa­vory, Moroc­can-in­spired drink­ing cho­co­late.

And at Ful­ton Mar­ket District siz­zler Elske

(1350 W. Ran­dolph St., 312-733-1314; elske restau­rantchicago.com), Anna Posey’s pra­linein­spired caramelized sun­flower seed par­fait is kissed with fer­mented sour honey and fin­ished with licorice crum­ble and bee pollen, es­chew­ing sweet­ness for an herba­ceous nut­ti­ness. “A well-ex­e­cuted menu can tran­si­tion eas­ily from sa­vory to sweet,” in­sists Posey. “Us­ing some ‘sa­vory’ in­gre­di­ents helps that tran­si­tion.”

Not so sweet: Chicago restau­rants em­brac­ing the sa­vory dessert trend in­clude (ƜƤƧƜƤƯƢƬƞ ƟƫƨƦ ƥƞɵƭ) Elske, which fea­tures a sun­flower seed par­fait with sour honey, licorice, and bee pollen; Co­coa + Co., whose Moroc­can Spice drink­ing cho­co­late is spiked with black pep­per and cumin; and new Loop fine din­ing spot Stead­fast.

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