Friday, May 10, 2013

III Forks Chicago

III Forks Chicago

The Chicago Tribune recently reported that Mayor Rahm Emanuel dined at III Forks Chicago, so we were really excited to head over there for a restaurant review recently. We actually walked over after the Wines of Portugal Grand Tasting, a pleasant walk along the Chicago River into Lakeshore East, one of the newer neighborhoods in the downtown area. Lakeshore East is a jewel of a park, surrounded by mostly high-rise buildings, giving a feel of quiet luxury after the noisiness of Michigan Avenue. III Forks sits above the park, with majestic views from the rooftop, where we ate dinner. The rooftop has its own menu, but take a look at the others before you go, as there are some worthwhile items to order from downstairs.

The rooftop is swanky and comfortable, with a variety of seating options, from barside to open tables of varying heights to "cabanas" with heat lamps (a nice touch on a cooler Spring evening). Nothing but sky and tall buildings above, and beautiful park views below. The rooftop of III Forks has the ambiance and design that makes it a worthwhile trip on its own for drinks even if you don't plan on eating.

III Forks Chicago Starters


From the starters menu, we opted to go with 5 cheeses (Moody Blue (Smoked Blue Cheese), Prairie Breeze White Cheddar, Saint Rocco Brie, Sartori Espresso Bellavitano, Marieke Gouda with fenugreek), which, with the accompanying lavash bread and fruit, could be a meal on its own. Up next was Brown Sugar and Barbecue Popcorn, a bit strange because it wasn't warm; still tasty though. I really enjoyed the Blue Cheese Taro Chips (thin sliced taro root, gold and red beet chips with creamy Point Reyes blue cheese sauce and blue cheese crumbles), but once again a huge serving, and worth taking home, as it reheated decently.

You must, absolutely must, order the onion rings. Even though the serving is huge, as are the rings themselves, they just might be the world's best onion rings, at least the ones I've tasted. They were even good the next day, reheated on a pizza stone at home. Great blend of seasoning, lots of flavors happening.

The suggested starter sparkler, which we kept through the first course, was a Santa Margherita Brut Rosé, a nice refreshing accompaniment to the food and the weather.

III Forks Chicago Seconds


For a "Second" course (plenty of food with the starters alone), I went with the III Forks Salad (crispy green apple slices, Wisconsin blue cheese, toasted pecans and field greens laced with our housemade vinaigrette) - nice mix, though it would work better with the greens and nuts chopped rather than whole. A minor quibble. Laima tried the Crudo (raw hamachi and salmon with avocado and candied Fresno chiles) and were happy to wait for it, as the fish was being sliced to her order. While the chiles were interesting, Laima did think that a salted version would have been preferable.

Sticking with the pink vino, my next glass was the 2011 M. Chapoutier 'Belleruche' Grenache Rosé, which was light, dry, refreshing, and a good choice with the seconds, but inexplicably served in a flute rather than wine glass. The wine was spot on though.

III Forks Chicago Entrees


Laima ordered the Tenderloin Tournedos over arugula salad tossed with candied pecans, smoked blue cheese and fig balsamic, with very appropriately sized Tournedos, especially after all the food we'd already had. Since the two pieces of beef were slightly different sizes, each came cooked to a slightly different doneness, but no harm done, both tasty. For an entree, I ordered the Beef Flatbread (thin sliced USDA Prime Strip Steak with caramelized onions, port wine cherries and toasted walnuts), without the beef. With no cheese, this is a totally vegan option, a nice surprise.

Laima took the opportunity to order another glass of wine, the 2009 Merryvale 'Starmont,' Cabernet, really a delicious wine with our entrees, standing up to all the differing flavors in front of us.

III Forks Chicago Dessert


Our server literally could not believe it when we asked about desserts (we HAD ordered a lot of food). While there are no sweets on the rooftop menu, he was happy to bring it up on order. With my espresso and Laima's decaf coffee, we chose the restaurant-made cheesecake, which was amazingly good, crumbly while still moist. Oddly enough, I think every other dessert offered had a coconut component, which made them non-starters for me.

Laima and I always comment on how important three things are to a good, worthwhile experience out: good food, good service, and good atmosphere -- III Forks has all three. Add in the amazing location with great views, a neighborhood built for pleasant perambulation, and III Forks becomes a necessary destination.

III Forks on Urbanspoon

III Forks has other locations in Austin, Dallas, Hallandale, Houston, Jacksonville, and Palm Beach Gardens. Get more information on the III Forks website, by liking on Facebook, and following on Twitter.

Disclaimer: This meal was comped for review purposes and all opinions are my own.

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1 comment:

  1. I love the location of III Forks - food and service were excellent too!