CHICAGO – April 2015 –Executive Chef Thomas Lents and the culinary team at Sixteen are pleased to debut a new menu for the spring season at the Michelin Two-Star, Forbes’ Five-Star restaurant at Trump International Hotel & Tower® Chicago.
Following the winter menu—Dining In Progress, which tracked the evolution of fine dining—the spring menu upholds the overall focus on “progress” as a guiding-theme for the year’s series of tasting menus.
The Spring season’s menu, entitled Food in Progress: Assessing an American Food Revolution, takes a close look at the advancements in both agriculture and technology that enable convenient, affordable and year-round access to produce and products that were limited by seasonality in the past. Additionally, it looks at the environmental and economic impact of mass production, fueled by the American palate.
“We’re in a position to take a stance on these issues,” explains Chef Lents. “Some traditional approaches to food production have proven to be wasteful and I think the restaurant industry as a whole is opening up to the idea that we need to have a conscience.”
Woven throughout the story of the multi-course menu is an emphasis on heritage and heirloom agriculture. Illustrating this focus, the dining experience commences with a vintage seed box filled with edible snacks that serve as the physical menu while also representing the menu’s four sections: The Farm, The Sea, The Ranch, The Orchard and Dairy and The Trade.
Each section includes multiple “Gifts from the Kitchen” courses followed by the guest’s choice of their main dish.
The Farm: Revisiting American Agriculture
Once the herald of spring, now an everyday commodity
The first of mulitple “Gifts from the Kitchen” courses showcase asparagus, with the incredibly seasonal and elusive white asparagus served alongside a soup made from the ubiquitous green variety.
Veiled Green and White Asparagus with Blood Orange and Curry
Comté Flan with Chive Flowers, Morels, and Asparagus Soup
Subsequent courses pay homage to Dan Barber and Sean Brock, notable chefs advocating for sustainable and heirloom agriculture, with diners selecting from:
The Third Plate
Barley Porridge, Escargot, Mustard Greens and Juice
The Revival of Lost Varietals
Carolina Gold Rice Congee, Sorghum, and Country Ham
The Sea: A Once Teeming Ocean
For the second section, courses represent various methods of aqua farming and sourcing, reflecting on the impact of aggressive farming pratices as well as the increase of sustainable aquafarming.
Gift courses include:
Abalone, Dulse, Sea Grape, and Dashi
Potato Soufflé with Sturgeon and its Caviar
Course options include:
By Hook, Line, and Quota
Wild King Salmon, Crushed Favas, Fava Leaves, and Shiso
Advancing the Aquaculture
Loup de Mer in Whey, Wild Dill and Fennel, Clam, and Parsley, Horseradish Emulsion
The Ranch: Weighing the Cost of What’s for Dinner
With American palates focused on ranch animals as the main source of protein, the courses in this section explore the impact of this affinity and the result of farming at an exponential rate.
The gift course features:
Smoked Squab with Sour Cherry and Sorrel
Course options include:
A Costly Convenience
Grass-fed, Dry-Aged Beef Ribeye, Fermented Ramps, Sprouting Alliums
A Demand that can Drive Change
Porcelet, Roast Brined Carrot, Buttermilk, and Ferns
The Orchard and Dairy
Crafted by Executive Pastry Chef Aya Fukai, the dessert portion of the menu begins with gift courses that highlight the importance of following the seasonality of fruits for both farming and nutritional benefits.
Preserving to Extend the Fruits of the Season
Mandarin and Avocado Sorbet with Freeze Dried Mandarin
Pistachio and Yogurt Cake with Blueberry and Lavender Jam
A Choice in How We Find Nutritional Value
Crème Fraiche Panacotta with Rhubarb Compote and Buttermilk Chip
Toasted Milk and Strawberry Ice Cream, Poppy Seed Sable with Fresh Anise Hyssop
The Trade: Promotion of Equity in Partnership
The main dessert courses examine the growing utilization of free-trade practices and presentation techniques, centered on the ingredients of coffee and chocolate.
Coffee: A Brighter Future from Bean to Cup
Pineapple, Verbena Mousse, Coffee Jelly, and Salted Caramel
Chocolate: Addressing a Bitter/Sweet History
Chocolate Cremeaux with Sesame Cake, Blackberry, and Sudachi
The multi-course tasting menu costs $190 per person with a pre-fixe option available for $130. Wine pairings may be added for $125 and a reserve pairing may be selected for $750. A la carte options are also offered upon request. Dinner is served at Sixteen nightly from 5:30 to 10:00 p.m. To view menus or to make reservations, please visit the restaurant online or call (312) 588-8030.