Smyth, Chicago, 11/17/18

exterior
exterior

Smyth has a large open kitchen (with a wood fire), a small waiting area and 2 Michelin stars.  Upstairs from it is a ‘sister’ restaurant with a more casual mode.  Lighting is lower with plenty of candles in the room.  A variety of music plays in the background, including rap, on a real turntable.   The polished wood bare tabes were well spaced and set on a concrete floor with a wood ceiling overhead.  A couple of large wood columns are in the room, but they appeared to be structural.  It serves only a tasting menu which you designate the length of when you make your reservation.  Ours was the Omaha tasting.  Wine pairings were available, as are non-alcoholic pairings, but we ordered our own wines.  Service was excellent and friendly and pacing was good.  This meal started strong and never let up the quality – put it on your list if you’re in Chicago.

interior
interior from the lounge area
interior
interior
interior
interior
table set up
table set up
Frankie and the table flowers
Frankie posed with the table flowers
interior
interior
interior
interior

 

The tasting started with a Capital Oyster seasoned with dulse, radish and preserved berries.  The west coast oyster was further seasoned with seaweed and celery top oil.  There were lots of textures to the briny dish and good flavor.

Capital Oyster seasoned with dulse, radish and preserved berries
Capital Oyster seasoned with dulse, radish and preserved berries
closer
closer
wine front
wine front
wine back
wine back

 

Next were 3 dishes from the same Shima Aji fish – a white fish.  Pickled shima aji was paired with marinated leek with rhubarb root.  There was some apple in this that was also pickled and the rhubarb root was an oil, the shallot an ash.  It was good.

Pickled shima aji and marinated leek with rhubarb root
Pickled shima aji and marinated leek with rhubarb root
closer
closer

Smoked Shima Aji head in crispy sourdough was the head meat of the fish that was cured and smoked for 2 hours and then mixed with seaweed, pinecones cured in honey for 2 years, and chad roe all served in a sourdough shell.  The smokey essence really came through.  The ultra thin shell was exquisite and the chad roe’s pop added even more deliciousness to the dish.

Smoked shima aji head in crispy sourdough
Smoked shima aji head in crispy sourdough
closer
closer
another one
another one
inside
inside

The last part was the Shima Aji ribs barbecued with Kaluga Caviar.  The barbecue contained some yuzu, pickled spruce oil and the caviar was from sturgeon.  The fish here was very meat-like and the barbecue sauce fit it perfectly.  The caviar just added a terrific decadence to the wonderful set of flavors.  The fish series ended with a warm moist cloth that was badly needed to keep me from licking my fingers.

Shima Aji ribs barbecued iwht Kaluga caviar
Shima Aji ribs barbecued iwht Kaluga caviar
from the side
from the side
towels to clean up
towels to clean up
Frankie studied the purse hanger
Frankie studied the purse hanger

 

Lightly steamed halibut was paired with mussels and green tea.  The halibut was lightly poached and served with a fermented vinaigrette and an oyster mussel sauce.  The amazing large flake fish was cooked perfectly and stayed wonderfully moist.  It worked terrifically with the dressing/ sauce.  This was an awesome dish.

Lightly steamed halibut with mussels and green tea
Lightly steamed halibut with mussels and green tea
closer
closer
another angle
another angle
Frankie warmed by the candle
Frankie warmed by the candle

 

Red Kuri Squash cooked with quince, blue cheese and wild rice made up the next course.  The squash was seasoned with foie gras poached in salt waster  and adorned with a chared bit of of squash.  The foam was made from rice(from when it boils) and blue cheese oil.  This dish was sweet and tart in an excellent blending of strong flavors.  It was really good.

Red Kuri squash cooked with quince, blue cheese and wild rice
Red Kuri squash cooked with quince, blue cheese and wild rice
closer
closer
wine front
wine front
wine back
wine back
somm and Frankie
Sommelier Richie Ribando and Frankie
The Sommelier's card
The Sommelier’s card

 

The King Crab cooked with egg yolk, horseradish and walnuts were live shortly before they came to the table.  The browned butter and egg yolk sauce was strewn with walnuts on top which blended together perfectly.  The totally sweet crab was moist and tender and the sauce simply amazing.  This dish bursts with flavor and fun – give it yum x2.

King Crab cooked with egg yolk, horseradish and walnuts
King Crab cooked with egg yolk, horseradish and walnuts
closer
closer
turned
turned
turned
turned

 

Sunchokes with roasted yeast, pickled pear and dried scallop was another wonderful dish.  The sunchokes had been cooked in lemon juice and browned yeast cream.  Pickled carrots were underneath and the jus was made with kelp and dehydrated scallops.  This was lip smacking great.  The sunchoke was a “frito” shape cut with the skin fried and a terrific sauce on the side.  All the ingredients were good on their own or when blended together.

Sunchokes with roasted yeast, pickled pear and dried scallop
Sunchokes with roasted yeast, pickled pear and dried scallop
closer
closer
closer
closer
underneath
underneath
Frankie enjoyed the bathroom wallpaper
Frankie enjoyed the bathroom wallpaper

 

Aged beef tenderloin with marmite and buttermilk was very tasty.  The beef was aged 4 months and garnished with housemade marmite and black trumpet mushrooms in onion jus.  The very tender meat was great as were the sides when eaten with it.

Aged beef tenderloin with marmite and buttermilk
Aged beef tenderloin with marmite and buttermilk
closer
closer
turned
turned
girl and Frankie
Sweet server Jackie and Frankie

 

The whole squab was presented first and then the legs and head were presented and the breast meat.  The lacquered squab was mixed with dried pear leaves and dried lemon verbena.  Some pineapple sage was mixed with crushed dehydrated pears and foie gras jus then coated on the very rare squab.  The breast was delicious especially with the wonderful honey glaze.  The brain was creamy and light, the thigh meat excellent.  Another winner.

presentation of the squab
presentation of the squab
Lacquered squab with dried perar leaves and dried lemon verbena
Lacquered squab with dried perar leaves and dried lemon verbena
legs and head
legs and head
Frankie looked longingly
Frankie looked longingly
breast
breast
closer
closer
turned
turned
Frankie wanted the head
Frankie wanted the head

 

The first dessert was Milk Chocolate, raspberry preserves, shiitake and kelp.  It was a milk chocolate ganache with a very thin layer of red raspberry preserves, fermented shiitake mushrooms, kelp oil and a little salt on the outside.  The inside was a creamy blend of goodness that was incredibly smooth and delicious.  An excellent dish.

after dinner drinks
after dinner drink menu
coffee and tea
coffee and tea menu
Milk Chocolate, raspberry preserves, shiitake and kelp
Milk Chocolate, raspberry preserves, shiitake and kelp
from the side
from the side
Frankie pointed out the other menus
Frankie pointed out the other menus

 

Next was a Yogurt parfait with cloud berries, parsnip and jasmine oil.  It was meringue like with yogurt, parsnip snow and the juice of cloudberries that added citrus flavor.  A little marigold and jasmine tea oil finished this interesting gathering.  It worked well.

Yogurt parfait with cloud berries, parsnip and jasmine oil
Yogurt parfait with cloud berries, parsnip and jasmine oil
closer
closer
turned
turned
turned
turned

 

Bosc pears preserved in hay were dished at the table.  They were served with chamomile frozen cream and nectar of quince.   Alongside was an ember cake that had been brushed with smoked butter and toasted.  It really picked up the smoke taste and was a great butter fix with a fabulous texture.  The sweet pears were divine as was the cream in the bowl with them.  Eaten alone or with the cake, you couldn’t go wrong here.  It was a good dish all the way around.

presentation of the pears
presentation of the pears
pears
pears
cake
cake
Bosc pears preserved in hay
Bosc pears preserved in hay
closer
closer
Pair and Frankie
Richie and Kyle with Frankie

 

A seaweed caramel tart was an odd combination and not the prettiest dish but it was quite good.  A really crisp crust with a sweet sticky filling made a great combination.  It was a wonderful surprise.

Seaweed caramel tart
Seaweed caramel tart
closer
closer
inside
inside
Frankie napped on the fluffy hand towels
Frankie napped on the fluffy hand towels

 

Salted black licorice looked like a burned baby carrot but tasted totally different.  I’m a licorice lover, so this one suited me just fine.

Salted black licorice
Salted black licorice

 

Dried sweet corn, ground cherries and quince curd finished up the sweets.  It was a corn macaroon like bottom topped with quince curd for another tasty bite.

Dried sweet corn, ground cherries, quince curd
Dried sweet corn, ground cherries, quince curd
closer
closer
turntable
turntable
Chef in the kitchen
Chef in the kitchen
kitchen
kitchen
Chef in the kitchen
chef in the kitchen
img_2119
menu
Frankie used the bird to get a good scratch
Frankie used the bird to get a good scratch

One thought on “Smyth, Chicago, 11/17/18

  1. Always a pleasure to read one of Frankie’s reviews.  I will give this restaurant a try next time I’m in Chicago!

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    Like

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