In a city like Chicago, a mecca for foodies, Chefs are continuously vying for that prime spot amongst the top ten restaurants in the Windy City. Chef Joho, a native of Alsace and owner of restaurant Everest, has continually maintained his place amongst the luminaries of the Chicago food scene. With a name like Everest, the pressure to remain at the top of one's game must be significant. After hearing a lot about the restaurant, I decided I was long overdue for a visit.
Located on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange the restaurant is reservations only and accesible by a private elevator. Perched high above the proverbially unwashed masses Everest soars over the Chicago skyline, metaphorically looking down on the city. This is a sanctuary of food, a sacred culinary space. If loud conversation, a couple of drinks and a quick dinner is what you're after, you may be disappointed. To really make the most of this experience, be prepated to devote several hours to the meal, don't rush, take time between the courses, savor the rare wines from France, have a civilised conversation and be prepared for a perfectly timed choreography of waiters placing and removing plates or delicately pouring vinatge wines. Everest is a member of Relais & Chateaux/Relais Gourmand, Les Grandes Tables du Monde, Traditions & Qualite, Academie Culinaire de France and Maitres Cuisiniers de France and they don't let you forget it. So, I recommend making an evening's entertainment out of it...after all, if one climbs Mount Everest I advocate taking the time to enjoy the panoramic view, take a moment to savour that Master of the Universe feeling...
After a few delicious amuse-bouche I began with the Home Smoked Salmon Naturel, Herbed Alsace Fleischnagga amd Melfor Aigrelette. The salmon was delicate, as I believe it should be, and perfectly balanced. I could have eaten five more of this dish without tiring of it. This dish was recommended on the menu as a signature dish for Chef Joho and one that has helped found his reputation...now I understand why.
For my main dish I opted for the vegetarian option and it was everything I had hoped: light, elegant and satisfying. This Cromesquis of Yukon Gold Potato, Topinambours with Truffle Coulis was a supremely well-executed dish.
I followed with the Composition of Midwest Farmstead Cheeses which was a distinguished homage to the area.
My Grand Finale was the Alsace Vacherin with Valrhona Chocolate and Bartlett Pear Glace with Vanilla Coffee Coulis coupled with the 1976 Chateau de Canterrane...what a spectecular ending. Like a well-executed fireworks display the meal went out with a bang, as all great meals should.
Yes, this is a meal replete with full French protocol, hushed whispered tones and an army of knowledgeable waiters surveying the tables. After having spent the evening atop Mount Everest, seemingly atop of the world and Chicago's infinity view the descent back to earth, down those 40 floors and into the cold Chicago night was not easy. Everest is a once in a lifetime Chicago experience.