Monday night I celebrated my birthday at Travelle inside The Langham, Chicago hotel. Usually, hotel restaurants are not my first choice for dining but Chicago has some really good ones.(Mercat a la Planxa at The Blackstone, Sixteen at Trump Tower). Since I have only heard consistently wonderful things about Travelle, I decided to save it for this very special occasion 😉
Travelle is located just 3 blocks south and 1 block east of the Grand ‘L’ stop along the CTA Red Line. The CTA Brown, Pink, Purple, Green and Orange Lines all stop at the State/Lake ‘L’ station. From there you can walk just 1 block east and 1 1/2 blocks north across the Chicago River to the restaurant.
Travelle is operating in step with the stellar reputation of The Langham. I was greeted with smiles by the kind and professional hostess staff who escorted me to the main dining room where my window seating preference was honored.
I enjoyed these warm Parker House rolls accompanied by a very clever teardrop of olive oil and sea salt, as I took in the modern and inviting space.
Travelle has an extensive wine list and interesting cocktails. I went for the “Beet It” cocktail which was made with melon vodka, beet juice, cinnamon, egg whites and citrus. It was one of the most original and memorable cocktails I have tasted. Vibrant and spicy, it reminded me of Wrigley’s Big Red chewing gum (my favorite!).
Chef Tim Graham (formerly of Tru) runs the kitchen at Travelle. His current menu is focused on seasonal American cuisine. Rather than go with one large entree, I decided to sample 3 different smaller plates. Here’s how my dinner went down:
I began with this creamy burrata with green strawberries, green almonds and salsa verde. I had never tasted green strawberries before this dish. They are more tart than sweet. So, they were a really nice complement to the burrata and salsa. The bread was also delicious. I took my time savoring this dish which was a huge test of my will power. Believe me 🙂
Next up, I chose this BBQ octopus with pork belly, black eyed peas and scallions. It arrived at my table looking and smelling all yummy in its “come hither” way. I loved the different textures, smokiness and tang of it.
I rounded things off with Chef Tim’s boar meatballs with casarecchia pasta and baby zucchini. The olive oil, garlic lemon zest and Parmaggiano cheese were very well balanced. I love wild boar and I really enjoyed these meatballs. They were rich but not at all gamey.
By this time, I was extremely satisfied and feeling really great about all of my menu choices. I had no intention of having dessert, although the pistachio olive oil cake did catch my eye 😉 Just then, to my surprise, I was treated to this light and lovely lime/rhubarb pana cotta with side of ginger crisps. This beauty was created by award winning Pastry Chef Scott Green (Four Seasons Resort Southern California and teacher at The French Pastry School). I had just enough room in my belly for this dessert. How could I refuse? After all, rhubard IS in season! The ginger crisps were a great accompaniment. Loved it!
The space at Travelle is divided into the main dining room and the adjacent bar/lounge where you can enjoy live music after 7:30pm.
The main dining room is unique in that it includes an elegant, glass-enclosed kitchen as part of the space as opposed to an open counter.
There are small tables and intimate curved booths, as well as a beautifully lit wall display of wine bottles.
On my way out, I walked through the bar/lounge to check out the comfy and vibrant scene and listen to some music. This is a great place for out-of-towners and residents to enjoy a drink, music and some great views of the city.
I am so happy that I chose Travelle for my birthday dinner. It was a lovely experience. I plan on returning very soon.
Travelle is located at 330 N. Wabash Ave. Click here for more information..
In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA Red, Brown, Green, Purple, Pink or Orange Lines to Travelle. Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!