ACADIA

There are a handful of Michelin starred restaurants in Chicago, all amazing and all by great chefs. ACADIA is one of those, and is extra special to me because it’s right in my backyard in the South Loop.

Chef Ryan McCaskey opened Acadia in 2010 and has been evolving the restaurant each season of each year. When he talks of his food and the restaurant, you immediately feel the passion he has for showing people amazing food. Acadia was first given it’s Michelin star in 2013 and has maintained that star ever since.

{ UPDATE! Acadia was just awarded two stars! Congrats to the team! }

The boyfriend and I were fortunate enough to enjoy a very special date night at Acadia last weekend and were treated to a custom TASTING MENU. We’ve just entered a gorgeous fall in Chicago, and Chef Ryan has changed the menu to highlight some beloved fall flavors and ingredients.

Acadia is divided into three spaces – the lounge, the dining room, the private room. Each is sophisticated and warm, while keeping with a pretty neutral color palette. The spaces are minimally decorated, save for the small floral/fauna arrangements on the table and spotting the dining room here and there. The staff members are professional, yet friendly, and are a wealth of knowledge on the wines and menu items.

To start, I chose the Sauvignon Blanc (Chateau Guiraud “G”, 2012) from Bordeaux, France. Clean, crisp and a great pairing with the first few lighter dishes from the Tasting Menu.

Our custom Tasting Menu was 13 courses, excluding a bread/butter course presented before the larger dishes.

LOBSTER ROLL 

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A5 MIYAZAKI CARPACCIO

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FOIE GRAS TORCHON | Stout, Caraway, Maine Blueberry, Hazelnut

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LAMB LOIN | Sous vide, wrapped in Swiss Chard

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HIRAMASA | Pacific amberjack, Shigoku Oyster, Finger Lime, Champagne, Uni Cream

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SUNCHOKE VELOUTE | brioche, apple, watercress

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LOBSTER | Apple, Celery, Curry, Toddy, Mustard, Poblano, Frisée

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POTATO | Burgundy Truffle, Jamón Ibérico, Quail Egg

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BLACK BASS | Pho, Cuttlefish Noodles, Fennel, Carrot

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SHORTRIB | Coconut Milk, Beets, Apple, Barley “Bark”, Thai Flavors

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KIWI SORBET | Juniper Crumble, Lychee, Phyllo Crisps

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APPLE | Apple Butter Mousse, Almond-Oat Clusters, Armagnac Gelée, Toasted Oat Ice Cream

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{photos taken by the boyfriend}

Yes, that was a quick view of the 12 amazing courses we were served over a two-hour dinner. Each dish has layers of flavors, and you can tell that each ingredient/component is carefully prepared. Chef Ryan’s creativity is apparent on each plate… and even the plates are perfectly picked for serving each respective dish! The plating of each made taking our photos an easy job!

Of the twelve dishes, let’s talk about some of my favorite bites. If you haven’t read a few other posts of mine, let me tell you that I love A5 Miyazaki beef. It’s always a treat, and to have it served raw and so simply at Acadia showcased the high quality of the beef. It’s so thinly sliced that you eat it with tweezers! The sunchoke veloute was fall in a dish. A rich, velvety-smooth soup with a lightly toasted piece of buttery brioche. Comforting and delicious. Who doesn’t love a truffled potato dish? Course 8’s was one bite of truffle heaven, plus topped with a perfectly fried little quail egg.

The two larger courses were equally creative and well-executed. The black bass was cooked perfectly, with delicious crispy skin, with the cuttlefish cut into “noodles” and topped with the pho broth. The broth itself was so complex, and a perfect companion to the simple, clean fish. Unique and so creative. The shortrib… oh, the shortrib. Had I not been so full by this time, I would’ve eaten it all. It was braised in coconut milk for 12 hours (if I remember correctly), and was served with beets. I love beets, and I thought the slightly sweet and crisp beets paired well with the decadent meat.

One of my favorite courses, which isn’t so much a course as it is a snack (not included in the courses above), was this gorgeous presentation of fried chicken skins.

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I shamelessly love fried skin, and these were amazing! Chef Ryan told us that his inspiration behind the flavors was the seasoning packet you find in instant Ramen. Genius. He should bag those up and sell them to me!

Needless to say, the two dessert courses (because who has just one?) were a welcomed ending to what was a truly special and spectacular meal. This was a wonderful Michelin star restaurant experience, and will have a special place in my food memory bank. Thank you, Chef Ryan!

Also, note that the Acadia lounge has it’s own, more casual, BAR MENU and is open until 2am! You’ll find me there getting a late-night burger.. and maybe some chicken skins? 😉

ACADIA | 1639 S Wabash Ave, CHICAGO IL

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2 thoughts on “ACADIA

  1. Thank you for your review and these photos! 🙂 This was the first michelin star restaurant I had ever gone to…and I can’t quite say I’ve had a meal I’ve loved more since. Didn’t take pictures that night so these are a dream come true to find! 🙂

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