Sure, Grant Achatz is a creative guy and Alinea is cutting edge. And Shawn McClain of Spring is very talented and has recently won a James Beard award. But let’s face it, the most innovative food in Chicago is emanating from Chicago steakhouses.
Take, for example, the appetizer above from Carmichael’s Steak House. It’s called the Buffalo Chicken Spring Roll. What kind of human thinks of combining chicken wings with an egg roll? Talk about thinking out of the box. Talk about being creative.
At what point does a chef stand in the kitchen and say, “Hey, let’s chop some chicken breast up, combine it with classic wing sauce, toss in some celery and carrots, stuff it into an egg roll, and deep fry it?” I’m not sure I can even guess.
I think maybe some chefs are trying to rebel against this molecular gastronomy trend. With the voice of Stentor, they are saying, “I will combine classic comfort food from America and Asia to raise the appetizer to new heights! To new heights I say!”
I didn’t think the egg roll could get any better than the Southwestern Egg Roll from Chili’s, but I was wrong, very wrong.
Carmichael’s is a great place. It’s at 1052 West Monroe in Chicago and there are a ton of reasons to go there. The burgers are very good. The outdoor patio is beautiful. The valet parking is free. It’s convenient to downtown but somewhat off the beaten path. It has a classic, lighted sign out front. Aren’t those enough reasons? Stop in and just be comfortable.