Sunday, August 17, 2014

Restaurant Review - Ralph Lauren Restaurant in Chicago

A Wide Variety of Options

There are a million places to eat in Chicago but when you are actually shopping on the Magnificent Mile there isn't that much right on the strip. Ralph Lauren was actually a destination and the decor did not disappoint. While they clearly stress the importance of business casual we came at an "off" time, really between lunch and dinner, and managed to sneak in without reservations or the proper attire.

The decor itself is beautiful and warm. It almost felt like a library with the wood paneling and dim lighting. Years ago in Birmingham Michigan there was a coffee shop on Old Woodward that was formerly an old Ralph Lauren store and it had a similar feel. I hadn't even remembered it until we ate here. Even the menu's were beautiful and lavish, with the paper being affixed to a leather board.

The kids got upgraded version of the usual. For one it was a hamburger and fries.  There were actually two versions on the menu, one was a Polo Burger and the other was an RL Burger. I can't recall which was which, but one was broiled and the other was cooked in a skillet for a more crispy sear. Dakota picked the broiled and wasn't disappointed. She also enjoyed the fries that came with the dish. Now to me, a burger is a burger, especially when you have a charcoal grill at home, but for kids staples work sometimes. The bun was made of a challah roll which was very good.

Andrew ordered a grilled cheese with tomato soup, another staple in our house. He consulted with the waitress and they modified his order to be on sliced brioche bread rather than seeded rye, and used a white cheese rather than something sharper and Andrew commented that it was quite good. However, he did not really like the soup, stating that it was "tomato sauce from a jar". Andrew is more of a bisque fan, and does not like tomato soup without a lot of cream.

We also ordered lobster bisque and it was a meaty version with chunks of lobster and a good balance of cream and flavor. Sometimes the bisque can dilute the seafood but this one was a good blend.

Paul also ordered lake perch that was coated in bread crumbs and was delicious but nothing to photograph. Fried fish looks like fried fish.

Now for the main attractions on what was what made this restaurant special. . . There was an appetizer simply noted on the menu as "Baked Cheese Saint Andre Triple Cream, Poached Pear, Maple Syrup". I don't think that does it quite the justice it deserves and I'm hoping the picture does help with this. We were very quick with photos and the flash was pretty obnoxious. Anyways, the cheese was wrapped in a pastry dough and just oozed when you cut into it. Sharp wonderful brie like cheese. The maple syrup really balanced well with the sharpness and the pears were an added bonus. 
Baked Cheese

My main dish was a work of art! Jumbo sea scallops were seared and then placed artfully around a pillar made of tomato cucumber salad topped with white balsamic cream. I know tomatoes and cucumbers should taste just like tomatoes and cucumbers but these were delicious! Super fresh with the right amount of bite and crunch. The cream on top was very thick and the balsamic added a great flavor that balanced well with the dish. This was wonderful.

The name Ralph Lauren was not a gimmick and this was a wonderful meal. I would put this on a short list if you are visiting Chicago, especially is  you are shopping anyways!

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