There's something between me and hotel restaurants. They just draw me in. That being said, I saw that the much awaited remodeling, restructuring, re-everything of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel was completed. Unlike it's past where it was a men's only sports club, they've opened their new soul to the public! That means ME!
I hurriedly grabbed a reservation to the Cherry Circle Room before the masses get a whiff of it.
The journey to Chicago Athletic Association hotel was an adventure in itself, thanks to my faulty spot hero QR code and my bad case of the LBS (low blood sugar.) Over the humps and through the concrete woods, TGD and I found ourselves finally inside the hotel. And another adventure starts...Where is this restaurant?! A gentleman guides us to go up the stairs to the second floor. Stairs?! Let's just say my shoes were not meant for walking. So beyond the front desk, past The Game Room, and hidden in a corner....
...a tiny entrance with a neon sign CCR emerged.
|Courtesy of Google|
A dimly lit, wood laden room welcomes us. Although this was not part of the original hotel design, the walls and the atmosphere gives a nod to it's old men's club feel; complete with old timey sports banners. I felt that I was breaking the "no girls" rule. Ha!
Prior to making reservations to CCR, I perused the cocktail menu and saw "Tableside Cocktail Cart Available. Ask your server to signal for a visit." Let's just say that asking the server about this magical cart were the first words out of my mouth. I could not contain my excitement when his highness, The Bartender, graced me with the cart and his crafty hands. I actually clapped like a child! I was given the choice of a few cocktails, along with a create your own gin and tonic. In keeping with the old timey vibe, Gin and tonic was a clear choice! It was a mix of Haymans Old Tom Gin and Fentimans Tonic. I was initially skeptical and expecting an overly pine tree sipping experience, but it was far from that. It was pleasantly refreshing! No pine fresh here!
Time to fix our LBS problem...
I decided to get my pork on to really put this place to the test. Presenting the 12 oz Duroc Pork Chop, Its party is joined by farro, artichoke, and clam casino sauce. Pork dishes can sometimes get too grossly greasy, but not this. I nearly forgot that I was eating porky. Along with the faro, and the clam, it made for one magnificent bite ( my mouth is literally watering writing this!)
So with all these meaty goodness, the show stopper for me was the Buttermilk and Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes! I know, the simplest of things. It was beyond creamy, I was not sure if I was actually eating it. It just melted in my mouth and filled it with it's warm, buttery, flavor bomb. If you think your dish does not need a side, you need this side!
Let's end this meal with an exclamation. Dessert! Carrot Cake. Looking at this deconstructed food art, I must admit I was disappointed that it wasn't a barbaric slice of cake. The disappointment quickly dissipated as the amalgamation of flavors did it's magic. It's carrot cake bits, with pineapple ice cream...Small size, big flavor!
Despite all the pre-dinner hullabaloo, the food and service quickly changed my LBS mood. I went from huffing to clapping even before the drinks. I did not even fuss about the fact that getting to the bathroom to wash my hands required even more stairs and a maze of hallways. Instead, I felt like Alice in Wonderland traversing through the magic of the rabbit hole.
Like the magic of wonderland, this place got me to eat rare meat with delight, hence this place deserves...
8 out of 10lbs!