Seeking to evade the high-toned as elite dining senses its
swan song, chef Kevin Hickey gets playful, devising a papery-thin cheese lavosh scented with Kickapoo Valley cheese from
Sherry, Wis., dabbled with toasted pumpkin seeds and sparkling with pumpkin oil, all hanging from an elegant stand—a
do-not-miss dish. Smoked-turkey soup comes in a tiny copper
pot that makes your soup spoon seem like a friendly monster.
While some of these dishes take a bit of finagling, the tastes
are uniformly big, bold and bracing throughout.
A 24-hour onion tarte (the onion bathed sous vide for a
whole day) pays homage to the restaurant’s namesake allium
(called “shikaakwa” by Native Americans), the stinky wild
onion that grew along the Chicago River and for which the city
was named. But times have changed, and only prosperity perfumes the air in this broad space. Sit alone at a quiet table with
your iPad and dream up your latest deal. Or loll with friends on
club chairs. Or relax on a bevy of couches strewn throughout.
Yummy winter vegetables from local farms pair artisanal
carrots, roasted Brussels sprouts, cara cara oranges and candied pecans with blue cheese. Brussels sprouts with Polish
OPPOSITE: Allium’s potato gnocchi with clams, black garlic and butter.
sausage are roasted crisp. And count on menu changes featuring seasonal local foods, with products such as pumpkin
seed oil made in-house.
Items move from small appetizers and snacks to dishes
Snacks/Breads $3-$5 | Small dishes $10-$18
described as “bigger,” including a tasty pappardelle with
chicken thighs. For those with even bigger eyes, dishes called
“mine” include duck breast with pierogi, evoking Chicago’s
Polish community, walleye from Wisconsin, brick chicken
and a Chicago-style hot dog with “homemade everything.”
If you choose dishes from “the meat locker,” where the
priciest cuts roam, you can order the $65 beef tenderloin
“chop.” Yes, this is a carnivore’s playground, as well as a
play space for beefy vegetarians who don’t think like wimps.
Desserts include elegant Oreos and a red velvet cupcake,
evoking a kid’s delight. Allium guides you into a brawny
eternal childhood inflected with The Manly.
E THEL HAMMER IS A WRITER, LECTURER AND CARTOONIST BASED IN CHICAGO.
We’ve Got What It Takes Call us 800-222-4393 FWE has everything successful foodservice operations need to run more efficiently, effectively, and profitably.
Scan the QR Code
Bulk Food Cabinets
Clymate IQ ®
COOK | HOLD | TRANSPORT | SERVE
2/28/12 9: 11 AM