Sleek and Sophisticated
The new Acadia
03/24/2012 2:48 AM
I left Acadia, the still-newish novelty eatery at 16th and Wabash tonight--and saw something really strange.
But first: Acadia. They don't let you stuff yourself, I'll tell you that. But the two dining rooms and bar and even the kitchen make up one of the sleekest, most sophisticated and prettiest restaurants I have ever been in. Grays and whites dominate; the furniture is big and comfortable; the service is attentive and very well-paced. Three hours really flew by. It's a soft spot in contrast to the hardscrabble landscape on Wabash. And a great place to have in the South Loop.
They give you a hook to hang your purse on the table--but this is one place you sure don't suspect of having a dirty floor.
The food was quite unusual--small portions, artfully presented. You don't get stuffed, but you don't leave hungry either. The prices aren't bad. I had a roasted beet salad, striped bass and deconstructed spice cake. My friend Anita had a scallop, duck and banana coffee cake. Yes, bread is served, but it comes as a "course"--like a mid-meal amuse-bouche--of one warm and tiny dense biscuit with plenty of delicious butter to slather on. Also quite artfully presented.
The spices (such as cinnamon and cardamon) listed in the descriptions of the dishes were given as much billing as the main ingredients. What the food lacks in quantity it more than makes up for in quality. Again, I can't say I left hungry. But I did try to concentrate on what I was eating--because it was disappearing fast. After dinner, the staff plied us with three extra sweets, one of which had a little thank you note attached.
What I saw at 14th and State on the northeast corner--on the way home to Roosevelt--was a packed square grove of flowering trees behind a fence that was high and practically opaque. Although if you looked hard, tables and chairs were sort of visible through the barrier. It was easy to miss, but there was a locked door in the fence that allowed entry with a key. But who has a key, I would like to know? The residents from across the street in the high-rise at 1401 S. State? Sure wish I had the story.