Sometimes starting a meal with dessert is totally appropriate, and at Steadfast, it’s almost a sin if you don’t. When you walk through the doors of this stylish Loop eatery, luxurious décor, a back lit bar, leather chairs and marble tables greet you. Upon opening the menu the first item listed under ‘snacks’ will catch your eye –- Chocolate Covered Foie. You might find yourself thinking, “Excuse-moi? Am I reading that correctly? Have I forgotten what foie is?” Luckily, in your brief moment of culinary confusion the waiter will gently descend his eyes upon the table and graciously reassure you that it is indeed real, and that you haven’t gone mad.
Not only is it real, it is something you must try. Duck liver may be the best thing to ever happen to chocolate. These artisanal little truffles are served individually and taste like an ultra luxurious peanut butter cup. Rolled in red navel oranges, sea salt and ground almonds, this salty, sweet and decadent treat is something you should order more than once during the meal.
Charcuterie Selections & Artisan Breads
With a selection of carefully prepared specialty meats and an abundance of homemade bread to choose from, you could make a meal of the charcuterie if so inclined. And while it’s nearly impossible to make an unsatisfactory selection, the Prosciutto and the Korean Chili Cured Coppa (Chef Chris Davies’ personal favorite), are slightly ahead of the pack.
With all charcuterie prepared in-house, the nine month aged prosciutto is the lighter of the two and is served with pickled watermelon and shaved Manchego cheese. The fresh baked rustic bread and honey oaxacan butter make a delicious addition. The coppa is cured in Korean chili flakes and sprinkled with a dried chicken skin crumble. Inspired by KFC, it is no wonder this chefs’ favorite is finger licking good.
When you reach the medium section of the menu you’ll have to decide whether to share or not to share. The portion sizes are slightly more plentiful but are still appropriate to split with one other if you want to sample several dishes on the menu. The Wood Grilled Kale Salad is a smoky starter. Served warm, this dish is dressed in bacon vinaigrette and sprinkled with Sumac candied pecans, pomegranate seeds and creamy goat cheese. It’s a savory way to eat your vegetables. The charred Seared Scallops are an ideal accompaniment to the hearty salad. They sit in a creamy pea puree and are exceptionally tender.
If you are an all for one type of diner there is a selection of larger dishes, some that you can have all to yourself (think a Bone-In Pork Chop, Spanish Style Ratatouille and Fjord Trout) and some that would be a challenge to eat alone. Case in point, the Whole Roasted Duck. Dry aged for seven days and glazed in lavender honey, this won’t be on the table for long. Served with classic French Armagnac poached prunes, these sugary, candy-like morsels are a boozy way to finish the indulgent duck.
Directly after you order dessert the waiter will present you with a pre-dessert of yogurt cream and cantaloupe snow to cleanse your palate. A favorite amongst the staff, the Bee Pollen is the stand out sweet dish. Served in a two tiered glass bowl, small chunks of sage cake sit in fluffy bee pollen cream. The cake is then topped with honey ice cream and garnished with sunflower seeds and white chocolate. Each bite is more sumptuous than the next. As an added bonus, with the check comes a tray of delicious homemade bonbons, the highlight of which is the macaron. You’ll have to decide via rock, paper, scissors who gets dibs.
Steadfast provides seasonal, upscale dining at an approachable price point, and gives you a spectacular reason to head to the Loop after business hours.
The Kimpton Gray Hotel, 120 W Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60603
Featured Photo Credit: Emily Andrews