Situated along the Chicago River on the second floor of the stunning Langham Hotel, Travelle Kitchen + Bar offers diners a contemporary seasonally-inspired menu in a chic, comfortable environment. I've long been a fan of the gorgeous luxury hotel (I mean, how can you not love a place with such an amazing ceiling installation?!) and although I've managed to run into Chef Tim Graham at numerous events over the years (and indulge in his mouthwatering white gazpacho), I hadn't ever actually dined at Travelle... until now!
A few weeks ago, Ashley and I made our way down to the swanky hotel to not only oooh and ahhh over its gorgeousness, but also to sample items from Chef Graham's brand new menu. Up until a few months ago, the restaurant offered a menu of primarily Mediterranean-inspired dishes; while the new menu boasts a few mainstays from the original iteration, it is now more focused on offering seasonal, upscale comfort food (i.e. elevated American classics).
Of course, I couldn't head into Travelle without a quick stop in the lobby to ogle to one of my favorite spaces in the entire city!
As Ashley mentioned, the mid-century furniture, cozy warm lighting, and sophisticated/funky touches make you feel like you're hanging out on the set of Mad Men (sadly, sans Jon Hamm).
I especially loved the floor-to-ceiling wine wall separating the dining room from the bar and this fun 30-foot digital art wall in the lounge area.
Ashley and I settled ourselves at a cozy table overlooking the Marina Towers and immediately ordered a bowl of this Field Squash Soup with pears, granola, and cranberries. This earthy, rich soup was perfectly sweetened by the pear and cranberry; surprisingly, it also had a bit of a kick from the unexpected drizzle of chili oil.
We followed our delicious soup (perfect for a cold winter's day!) with an order of BBQ Octopus with pork belly and sea island red peas. As has been well-established by now, Ashley and I are both octopus fiends, so of course, we had to sample this unique-sounding combination. Happily, we both loved this dish - there was just enough sauce to enhance the delicate flavor of the tender octopus and the pork belly added the perfect amount of juicy fattiness. This is definitely a must-order!
For our third course, we moved on to a selection of the highly recommended flatbreads, starting with the Boursin Flatbread with vinegar cippolini, kale, and beer battered crispies. Ashley particularly loved this one, thanks to the crunchiness of the kale, the creaminess of the boursin, and the soft bite from the roasted cippolini onions.
I, on the other hand, was completely taken by their popular Lamb Sausage Flatbread with olive relish and thyme. The texture of the thin, chewy was absolutely perfect and I couldn't resist the combination of the slightly bitter olives, spiced meat, and strong savory herbs. I could easily make a lunch out of this delicious flatbread alone!
For our entrées, we started with the Spicy Half Chicken with Brussels sprouts and guanciale. Hands down, this was one of the best chicken dishes I've had in a long, long time! Honestly, I rarely order chicken when I go out (I tend to gravitate toward the seafood side of the menu), but after several recommendations, I knew I had to try this perfectly roasted and spiced chicken. Trust me, this is not your typical boring chicken - it's definitely worth ordering!
Finally, we split a bowl of this beautifully presented (it's tossed in a giant wheel of Parmesan!) Casareccia Pasta with yellow tomato sauce and a generous mound of herbed ricotta. We both fell hard for this hand rolled pasta and delectable creamy sauce. I was actually surprised by how much I loved this dish, as I was completely clueless about the amazingness of yellow tomato sauce - why don't more restaurants have this on their menus?!
Of course, we couldn't leave without sampling a few desserts (along with being octopus fiends, we're also dessert fiends!). Having sampled Chef Scott Green's creations at various events, I knew we were in for a real treat! We started with the Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie, served with cinnamon whipped cream. So creamy, rich, and ridiculously addictive!
We ended our spectacular meal with a gooey slice of Chocolate Cake with corn flake crunch and brown butter coconut frosting. OMG. While I'm typically not one to order chocolate cake, I was absolutely enamored with this dense, moist, bittersweet cake. I love that they included an extra scoop of the coconut frosting and corn flake crunch on the side - I gladly could have eaten a bowl of that for dessert!
Just look at those thick layers of ganache!
Needless to say, I LOVED my meal at Travelle - I really cannot believe it has taken me so long to finally get over there. Thanks to the amazing food, chic space, and attentive servers, Travelle is most definitely an absolute must-visit for city-dwellers and visitors alike! You can try all of this deliciousness and more at Travelle Kitchen + Bar: 330 N. Wabash St., Chicago, IL (second floor of The Langham Hotel).
Disclosure: I received a complimentary meal to facilitate this post. Review and all opinions are my own.