For years, The Langham has been considered one of the top hotels not only in Chicago, but throughout the world, with the luxury stop having stops from Hong Kong to Boston to Sydney.
And for years, I've raved about Travelle at the Langham (330 N. Wabash Ave.; www.travellechicago.com ), which consistently exhibits dishes of extremely high caliber.
A recent visit confirmed this, as I hadn't been there in a little while. (By the wayas I gathered from seeing mayoral candidate/businessman Willie Wilson at a nearby tableTravelle, which is on the hotel's second floor and offers magnificent views, is a spot to get away from prying eyes, if necessary.)
Chef de Cuisine Justin Gomes has brought his talents (from such spots as LondonHouse and Venteux) and geographical influences (as he hails from Trinidad) to Travelle, which offers seasonal contemporary American fare. (And maybe with his Trinidadian background, we'll see callaloo on the menu down the roadalthough maybe not with the Scotch bonnet pepper. I'll definitely be back for that.)
The experience started with what my dining companion considered to be the best burrata she's ever had; in fact, she said that she'd return for that item alone. The cheese was accompanied by pepper relish and basilas well as a mountain of toasted bread. I had a delightful corn soup that could only be described as velvety.
We also decided to a Caroline Gold rice dish with black-eyed peas, Lady Edison country ham and pecorino. The rice stood up very well (thanks to the fact that it was cooked in tasty parmesan broth), although the ham and pecorino made for a combo that was almost too saltybut I do have a sensitive palate.
The cappelletti with eggplant, tomato and chive was deliciousand almost too beautiful to consume. The only complaint was that, regarding the pasta (a slightly larger tortellini), eight pieces were not enough. Maybe there should be an alternate, larger version.
The entrees were, in a word, incredible. My friend had the Australian lamb loin, and it was perfectly cooked. I could say the same about my Wagyu short rib, which Gomes revealed is subjected to a four-day process.
However, as delicious as the other dishes were, my dining companion considers herself to be an expert in desserts and certainly looked forward to the last course. The offerings certainly didn't disappoint. A pistachio berry delight was made with top-notch Valrhona chocolate, with coconut and praline as well as mixed-berry ice cream. The espresso itemwith banana, Valrhona and passionfruit, with salted-caramel ice creamwas just as decadent.
Travelle at the Langham, despite its staff changes, has maintained an incredibly (and seductively) high standard when it comes to its cuisine. Add the atmosphere and winning service and you have a place that warrants revisiting.
Note: This visit was arranged.