Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Gage

While it was a restaurant that was participating in Restaurant Week, we did not order from the Restaurant Week menu when we went to The Gage. Located on Michigan Avenue across from Millennium Park, The Gage is located in a building designed by giants in Chicago architecture, Holabird & Roche and Louis Sullivan and was built for a Millinery (Hat Maker) in 1889-1890. The restaurant plays on the architectural significance of the building with a strong Art Deco style. The floors are mosaic tile and the walls are subway tile with a black, white, and green color scheme. You enter the restaurant through the lounge area which has banquettes and high tops and a long and ornate wooden bar. The dining space is actually broken into 3 areas, my favorite of which is in the kitchen which was where we were seated. As I said before, while The Gage was participating in Restaurant Week, we didn't dine from the Restaurant Week menu. It wasn't that the Restaurant Week menu didn't look good, it did, but there were things on the main menu in which we were more interested. For appetizers, my friends ordered the Boar Poutine. A spin on Canadian street food made of french fries, cheese curds, and gravy. The poutine here also had stewed vegetables and a boar ragout with a boar confit. It was very rich and tasted as good as it sounds bad for you. I didn't get a picture of the dish itself but I did get a small amount on the plate showing the appetizer that I got. I got another thing that tasted as good as it is bad for you, the Scotch Egg. It is a hard boiled egg that is wrapped in sausage and then breaded and fried. It was served with two types of mustard, yellow and stone ground. The sausage was spicy and the mustard provided a nice tang to the dish.For my entree, I got a chicken sandwich but it wasn't just a chicken sandwich. It was fire roasted, rubbed with a spicy dry rub and served with blue cheese and basil on Cuban Bread. The sandwich was served with some very nice fries and house-made ketchup. I normally don't order chicken when I am out because I eat it at home frequently and it is pretty pedestrian but, having been to The Gage before, I have seen that they are very good at putting a fine dining spin on comfort food. I love basil and blue cheese, the chicken was very juicy and flavorful, and the Cuban Bread added some texture and a little sweetness to the sandwich.
I could have stopped here and been satisfied with a very good lunch but I had to at least look at the dessert menu. What I saw on the menu was something that had to be ordered, Anise Churros served with two dipping sauces.The first sauce was a Cappuccino Sauce and the other was a Chocolate Caramel. If the churros had been served without the sauces they would have been great. They were slightly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, covered in powdered sugar, and had a nice slight black licorice flavor provided by the anise. The sauces were a very good bonus. They were served warm and just added to the flavor of the churros.

This was a great lunch in a beautiful space. I will definitely be back if only because it also is located in an ideal spot in the Loop across from Millennium Park and very close to the Art Institute as well as any number of other tourist areas.

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