MICHELIN Guide’s Point Of View
This charming Arts and Crafts building may have started as a warming shelter for park ice skaters back in 1912, but today it is a celebratory and cozy setting that makes you want to light a fire and pop open some champagne. Exposed brick, that roaring fireplace and large windows overlooking the park and namesake pond make the rooms feel warm and pleasant. A commitment to agriculture is clear in everything: seed packets arrive with the check and each bottle of wine has a one-dollar surcharge that is donated to charities like the Lincoln Park Conservancy or Chicago Rarities Orchard Project. Chef Bruce Sherman's particular style seems to fly in the face of those minimalist competitors who use menus to list single ingredients. Here, dishes are described comprehensively as a flurry of components that may not always seem to fit together with great success. Try neatly trimmed Arctic char that is slow-roasted for silken texture, then served with embellishments like house-made sauerkraut, mustard seeds, candied walnuts and dauphine potatoes. A duo of strip steak and spoon-tender Porter-braised short rib arrives with pan-crisped black pepper spaetzle, Brussels sprouts and beet-apple purée.