• Entertainment

    The Icing On The Cake

    • Apr 25, 2020

    • By:Ann Marie Scheidler

    El Che Bar
    845 W. Washington Boulevard Chicago, IL 60607



    About El Che Bar: Housed in the former Checker Taxi building, El Che Bar is Chef John Manion’s spirited Argentine-American restaurant, a tribute to the time he spent traveling throughout that South American country. Cooking directly over open flame is the allure of this spot located in the West Loop.


    Cuisine: Wood-fired Argentinean-American fare and South American cocktails


    Popular Dishes: Veal sweetbreads, beef short ribs with red and green chimichurri, thin-cut pork chops


    Décor: Warm and eclectic with South American influences; a black marble bar adds elegance



    Smoking Affogato


    Featured Dessert and Wine Pairing at El Che Bar

    Chef Marianna Reynolds, a Jean Banchet Awards nominee for Rising Pastry Chef of the Year, created the Smoking Affogato, a theatrical presentation in which smoke is trapped in a clear co ee glass and released tableside with a hazelnut milk espresso pour. Along with creating the theatrical effect, it enhances the flavors and textures of the dish. The Smoking A ogato is served with a cannoli sweetened with dulce de leche, spiked with espresso and laced with a hint of heat in the pizzelle cookie.


    Dessert wine plays a prominent role, as it is served with praline ice cream spiked with a sweet Italian Marsala wine and a Marsala espresso caramel. Chef Reynolds suggests that the Smoking A ogato is best paired with the Mancino Vermouth Chinato from Piedmont, Italy. “It is earthy and slightly spicy with its intriguing botanical blends,” she says. “It gets the mind racing and the tongue ready for an experience.”


    Chef Marianna Reynolds



    Maple & Ash
    8 W. Maple Street Chicago, IL 60610




    About Maple & Ash: Maple & Ash celebrates the best of the classic steakhouse. With a curated menu by acclaimed Executive Chef/ Partner Danny Grant and an extensive beverage program from James Beard Award– winning sommelier Belinda Chang, Maple & Ash sets a high standard for the steakhouse experience.


    Cuisine: American Steakhouse


    Popular Dishes: Caviar, shrimp De Jonghe, roasted seafood tower and bone-in cowgirl steak


    Décor: Urban sophistication that lends itself to a romantic evening or girls’ night out; also the perfect backdrop for a business gathering



    Choc Bombe


    Featured Dessert and Wine Pairing at Maple & Ash

    Chef Aya Fukai, a Jean Banchet Awards nominee for Rising Pastry Chef of the Year, created the chocolate bombe as one of Maple & Ash’s signature desserts. A triple chocolate cake is hidden underneath a layer of bourbon-tinged bananas and vanilla ice cream. It is then covered with a chocolate dome that gets melted tableside with a bourbon caramel. The rich creaminess of the dessert is accompanied by wafer pieces covered in dark chocolate surrounding the dome. The surprise of something under the chocolate dome and the over-the-top decadence of this triple chocolate cake make it the top seller at Maple & Ash.


    Partner and Director of Wine & Service Belinda Chang recommends a beautiful selection of aged Madeira, any of which will suit the dessert beautifully. Your preference depends on how decadent you are feeling.


    Chef Aya Fukai



    GT Prime
    707 N. Wells Street Chicago, IL 60654



    About GT Prime: With an emphasis on sourcing from local farms and cuisine highlighted by seasonal ingredients, Executive Chef/ Partner Giuseppe Tentori has curated a meat-centric menu indicative of his signature sharable plates.


    Cuisine: Steakhouse


    Popular Dishes: Carnivore platter; rabbit leg confit with potato puree, black garlic and portobello jus; gnocchi Genovese with basil pesto, sweetbread crouton, haricot verts


    Décor: Dark, sleek and whimsical; designed to look like a fairy-tale forest with chairs lined with faux fur, light fixtures resembling trees and taxidermy on the walls



    Meyer lemon crème brulee


    Featured Dessert and Wine Pairing at GT Prime

    Chef Andrea Coté recommends a lighter finish to your steakhouse dinner with the Meyer lemon crème brulee, a blend of fresh lemon marmalade and a heaping of tangy blueberries.


    To complement this sweet and sour flavor palette, she suggests the Disznókő Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos 2007, a Hungarian dessert wine. It has honey and berry flavors to enhance the blueberries, as well as acidity that makes the wine seem drier than it actually is when enjoyed with the Meyer lemon crème brulee.


    Chef Andrea Coté



    Nico Osteria
    1015 N. Rush Street Chicago, IL 60611



    About Nico Osteria: Nico Osteria brings Italian seafood to Chicago’s Gold Coast. The dining room sets an elegant stage for Chef Erling Wu-Bower’s house-made pasta and impeccable seafood.


    Cuisine: Italian


    Popular Dishes: Brussels sprouts bruschetta, stu ed pappardelle, fritto misto di pesce


    Décor: Bold and rich interior design that evokes an intimate art gallery


    Donuts with toasted fig leaf cream, passion fruit, graham cracker and fig leaf gelato


    Featured Dessert and Wine Pairing at Nico Osteria

    The sourdough bombolini, classic donuts with a modern twist, are the master creation of Chef Leigh Omilinsky. The donuts are served with toasted fig leaf cream, passion fruit, graham cracker and fig leaf gelato.


    They are best paired with a sweet white wine like a Reisling, preferably Germano Ettore Langhe (2014). Since the donuts themselves aren’t very sweet and have a bit of a sourness at the start, the sweetness of the wine is the perfect enhancement. The toasted fig leaf crema and fig leaf gelato add a coconut interest.


    Chef Leigh Omilinsky



    1729 N. Halsted Street Chicago, IL 60614



    About Boka: Over the past 12 years, Boka has become one of Chicago’s favorite restaurants for creative American cuisine with its great design, warm hospitality and award- winning chefs. Since arriving at Boka, Partner/Chef Lee Wolen has received a Michelin Star in 2015 and 2016 (Boka has received six consecutive Michelin Stars), 3 Stars and Chef of the Year from the Chicago Tribune, and Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year at the Jean Banchet Awards.


    Cuisine: Seasonal American


    Popular Dishes: Roasted chicken with cabbage, onions and tamarind; slow poached egg with cavatelli and mushrooms


    Décor: Stylish and modern with a lounge and candlelit garden patio


    Coffee & hazelnuts for dessert served with pralines and whole milk ice cream


    Featured Dessert and Wine Pairing at Boka

    Meg Galus, Pastry Chef at Boka, Cold Storage and Swift & Sons—winner of Pastry Chef of the Year from the Chicago Tribune and a 2016 James Beard nominee—recommends the co ee & hazelnuts for dessert served with pralines and whole milk ice cream.


    Boka Wine Director Kyle Pepperell suggests NV Warre’s Otima 10-Year Tawny Port. “It has a hint of sweetness with notes of almond, hazelnut and to ee. There’s a nice bit of acid to balance out the sweetness,” he says. “The nuttiness of the wine really plays well with the nuttiness of the dessert.”


    Chef Meg Galus