One of Chicago’s Most Elegant: RIA

What are your three favorite dining towns?

Topping my list are…

  • Chicago
  • Las Vegas
  • Paris

…in order of where I happen to be visiting at the time, and were the next reservation will take us. I recently returned home from Chicago, experiencing nothing short of culinary nirvana.

The highlight of the trip was the opportunity to be Guest-Chef-of-the-Day at MOTO Restaurant. The word “cutting-edge” falls way short in describing Chef Homaro Cantu’s vision for the feeding the future. MOTO is a culinary laboratory that dazzles, excites and inspires. I am on fire to experiment with ideas picked up from one day in the kitchen with Chef Chris Jones and his team of uber-creative chefs and cooks. And later that evening at ING, the sister restaurant next door where live tweetING is encouraged, we enjoyed the most engagING service, sippING Champagne, and flavor trippING on an incredible sweet potato dish…

ing: sweet potato chain, vanilla parsnip, balsamic, truffle hazelnut
ing: sweet potato chain, vanilla parsnip, balsamic, truffle, hazelnut

GLENN’S DINER is a family-friendly neighborhood spot that serves fabulous fresh fish and cereal. Cereal from a cereal bar! My nephews, Stone, 9, and Jett, 7, love this place, as do the adults. Glenn, whoever you are…you are a genius. I recommend the fresh Mahi Mahi with ginger sesame soy glaze. Stone recommends the cheesy Shrimp Cargo followed by a bowl of Reese’s Puffs.

glenn's diner cereal bar
glenn's diner: cereal bar

Another winner – brunch @ LONGMAN & EAGLE – they don’t take reservations so we had to wait at the bar…sip our coffee and torture ourselves with a bacon doughnut appetizer. Our brunch included a refreshing twist on the usual, a Bloody Lawrence – made with corn whisky, a deconstructed clam chowder, and prawn & cheese grits with a one hour egg…the shot of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer with our meal was a uniquely Chicago-y touch.

longman and eagle
longman & eagle: brunch

ORCHIDS, RIA

The Waldorf Astoria Chicago is home to two-star Michelin, sophisticated, unpretentious, chic RIA restaurant. With Chef Danny Grant at the helm, our modern seasonally-driven French dining experience could not have been more enchanting. The gorgeous comfortable dining room is bathed in silver and gold and soothing neutral tones. Uncommon and intimate, the tables are spaced far apart, dressed in white accented with a single burgundy calla lily. The rolling Champagne cart carries unique offerings, many not available anywhere else in the US.

A FLAWLESS MEAL

gourgères
ria champagne
exclusive champagne offering
bubbly

Cattier
Brut, “Antique,” Chigny-les-Roses, 1er Cru Champagne NV

Pommery
Brut Rosé, “Cuvée Apanage”
Avize, Cramant & Chouilly, Grand Cru, Champagne NV

AMUSE BOUCHE

amuse bouche 1: scallop
RIA
amused
ria restaurant amuse bouche
amuse bouche 2: sea urchin, cauliflower

BREAD

ria
bread...
ria
...and butter

WHITE WINE

2007 Auteur Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard (USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros
auteur chardonnay

2007 Auteur Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard
USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros

Winemaker’s Note: The near perfect Hyde Chardonnay shows a remarkably crisp, refined, almost aristocratic side of California chardonnay. While reticent on the nose at first, hinting at tropical and citrus fruit, after few minutes in the glass, fruit comes gushing forth with white peach, lychee, pineapple and lemon. As these fade, the haunting aroma of hazelnut becomes apparent and is joined by an earthiness seldom found in California chardonnay. On the palate the cascade of fruit continues, constantly changing but finally coming to rest on exotic starfruit. The finish lingers with baked lemon and spice. While all the ripe fruit gives an impression of roundness, ample acidity keeps this wine fresh and coiled, suggesting not only long aging potential, but also making it a perfect refreshing spring wine in its youth.

FIRST COURSE

ria sweetbreads
veal sweetbread, crosnes, celery, black trumpet
ria
foie gras
ria
brioche for the foie
ria, truffle pasta
perigord black truffle, egg pasta, celeriac, vermouth

RED WINE

2009 Domaine Joseph Voillot Volnay 1er Cru Champans
France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Volnay 1er Cru

2009 Domaine Joseph Voillot Volnay 1er Cru Champans
dark berry intensity

Aromas  of dark berry fruit, earth and wet stone. Intense and powerful berry flavors, long finish. Joseph Voillot Volnay ‘Les Champans’ is a premier cru Burgundy produced on 25 acres of vines. Harvested and sorted by hand aged in French oak barrels, of which only 30% of the barrels are new to enable the essence of the fruit to shine through.

MAIN COURSE

RIA SUCKLING PIG
suckling pig, vin jaune, boudin noir, hay, salsify
loup de mer, ria
loup de mer, brussels sprouts, apple, winter squash
ria
dry aged strip loin, leek, rapini, comte

CHEESE COURSE

ria, cheese cart
cheese selection
french cheeses
french cheeses
cheese accompaniments
cheese accompaniments: breads, crackers, pecans, spun honey

MIGNARDISES

ria mignardises
last bite of heaven
au revoir

…until we see each other again.

Your three favorite dining towns? Please share.

Update: please visit our review of RIA’s fabulous, more casual sister restaurant BALSAN here.

12 thoughts on “One of Chicago’s Most Elegant: RIA”

  1. I love living vicariously through you. I gained 4 pounds in Chicago last April without eating at those places – Chicago is indeed a great dining town! But I’m still a New Yorker through and through and plan my trips there around where to eat!

  2. Chicago – gotta love that city! Such great restaurants, such great views, such great places to walk and to drink – AND I have family there! I haven’t tried any of these places and will add them to my list. Fun!

  3. Wow! My first time here, what amazing photography! And the food! You have such a lovely blog, it’s really a pleasure to go through your “other home”! I do love Chicago!
    My 3 are Singapore, Paris and Delhi. Lin xx

  4. Oh. My. God… LL, you did an amazing review at this restaurant!!!!! I’m sending your link to my husband who sometimes go to Chicago for work (and business dinner is perfect chance to go here!). I wanna go one day… Simply beautiful. I need to write down this restaurant!!!

  5. So glad you enjoyed your visit to Chicago. You visited some of our top spots and your pictures are mouth watering. I live here and have never been to RIA. It’s now on my list. Come back soon!

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