chevre. And you won’t have to go to Noma in Copenhagen,
Gilt in New York or Manresa in Los Gatos, Calif., to enjoy
the newest rage—edible soil—fashioned here with ocumare,
a Venezuelan dark chocolate.
With every plate beautifully presented in a sophisticated, sexy
environment worthy of an architectural magazine, McCaskey
is an utterly visual guy who gets our vote for an exhibit at the
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. And with the whole staff
behind him, the service is so good that even the busboy glows.
Meanwhile, McCaskey revels in nature’s bounty, from
sunchoke velouté with crunchy Thai granola, sweet grape cubes,
pancetta and puffed wild rice to vegetable tagine exploding
with quinoa, butternut squash, carrots, mushrooms and beets
dappled with cinnamon, za’atar, cilantro and olives. “Risotto”
with no rice (only a fine dice of Yukon gold potatoes, leeks,
green apples and fines herbes, liberally decked with shaved
truffles) is a lovely surprise. Main courses include chicken
presse with a mousseline of fines herbes, truffle bread pudding,
trumpet mushrooms and chestnuts. Count wild striped bass
and Stonington lobster pie among menu choices that change
with the season.
While some dishes totter on the precipice where flavor
succumbs to the hypervisual, we salute this hardworking,
independent chef waging all to make a sophisticated, stunning
neighborhood place work with lovely service, a charming
environment and lots of good tastes. With mini whoopie pies
to say au revoir at the end of your meal, and even a little to-
553 West Diversey Ave.
According to front-of-the-house
guy Steven Fladung, co-owner of
2 Sparrows in Lincoln Park, two
sparrows drew the chariot of Greek
goddess Aphrodite. One represented
love, the other, agriculture. Now
that’s downright romantic. Only
problem is, according to the
ancients we dug up, Aphrodite’s
chariot was drawn by four doves.
But who cares, with chef Gregory
Ellis’ biscuits in creamy lamb
sausage gravy flavored with thyme?
Call the place 2 Hawks or 2 Doves
or 2 Tomatoes. You’ll still find
breakfast on stage, working its
heart out, trying to reinvent itself.
And the ancients do tell us that
sparrows were sacred to Aphrodite,
so why quibble? We won’t.
So indulge. Mythologize yourself.
Transmogrify and merge. A tribute to
the ambitions of two independents,
2 Sparrows serves lunch and
breakfast simultaneously from
8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day. We
wolfed down homemade brioche
glazed donuts topped with maple
syrup-glazed crunchy pork belly bits,
and could have just stopped there.
Eggs Benedict with homemade tasso
ham for meat eaters comes in a
pretty presentation with hollandaise
go-home pastry slipped into your hand as you leave, prepare
to be coddled and cooed. And enjoy those yummy itty-bitty
buttermilk biscuits served with French butter and a pillar of salt.
Appetizers $8-$14 | Entrees $23-$32
Four Seasons Hotel Chicago
120 E. Delaware Place, 7th Floor | (312) 799-4900
Fine dining glides into the “mellow middle” as a discrete
crowd dines in a clubby environment amidst marble steps, lush
rugs, dark woods and touches of red and rosy-peach. Meanwhile,
the marble fountain at the entrance, evoking Rome’s Baths of
Caracalla, reminds you that this is still power dining.
PHOTO CREDIT: Top, Lara Kastner; bottom, Ryan Moore Photography
and homemade tater tots. There is
shrimp and grits swimming in tasso
ham gravy, and slender pop tarts
filled with apples and glazed with
lemon/thyme icing. Corned beef hash
with bangers, anyone? Or ramen in a
bowl with pork belly, pickled egg and
scallions? This is the place for those
who think American breakfast needs
2 Sparrows’ brioche glazed maple bacon doughnuts.
beef or a salmon BLT. Or be the
first in your world to try a pop tart
filled with foie gras mousse and
Of course, you can get buttermilk
pancakes and French toast, not to
mention granola and old-school
eggs, bacon, sausage and toast—
with fresh greens. So be old and
new at the same time. Eat a pork
belly sandwich while your partner
devours Israeli couscous or corned
What’s breakfast? What’s lunch?
Who cares? 2 Sparrows draws
the breakfast chariot across the
Chicago skyline, portending a wild
ride for two guys who flew the coop
from Charlie Trotter’s.