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