Grace Review (Updated): Curtis Duffy Nearly Hits the Bull’s-Eye

The most ambitious new restaurant in town comes awfully close to perfect.

Michael Muser

Scottish salmon, crispy red cabbage, citrus pudding, and marigold at Grace

Grace (652 W. Randolph St., 312-234-9494). Contemporary.

★★★½ (excellent to superlative)
$$$$ ($50-plus per person for a meal, without tax, tip, or alcohol)

Curtis Duffy made sure every detail was perfect before opening his refined restaurant temple last December, and the diligence shows. Grace, the most pedigreed horse in the high-stakes Randolph Street Derby, came out of the gate at a sprint.

Duffy’s seasonal tasting menus (10 to 12 courses, $185), crafted meticulously in a glassed-in kitchen, overflow with jaw-dropping ideas and flavors. One gorgeous dish features a scallop that’s been pan-seared then chilled, lending it an almost-foie-gras texture that transforms as you eat it with anise hyssop foam and hibiscus.

Smart details like bread pairings and season-themed bathrooms set the experience apart. But service, while ridiculously generous, is not quite at four-star level. Yet.

New restaurant reviews, updated to reflect critics’ recent visits, appear each month in Chicago magazine, in Dine, as well as on our website. Listed restaurants are rated from one to four stars, where one is good, two is very good, three is excellent, and four is superlative. Grace previously was not listed. The new review appears in the May issue, on newsstands now.

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