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The Albert Has Some Genius Ideas for Its Menu

It opens Wednesday in the Gold Coast.

Aged Rohan duck with roasted cauliflower at the Albert   Photo: Ranson Photo

It seems the hotel restaurant is making a comeback: The Boka Group will have Somerset in the Gold Coast’s upcoming Viceroy hotel; Michael Mina will soon open Margeaux Brasserie in the Waldorf Astoria; and we recently reported Jason Vincent’s Giant spinoff, coming to the new West Loop Ace Hotel this fall. Add to the list the Albert (as in Einstein), another flashy-yet-accessible eatery set to open in the brand new Hotel EMC2 (get it?) on May 24.

The Albert’s (228 E. Ontario St., Gold Coast) title gives us a bit to unpack: A press release calls it “New American” with roots in French tradition and technique—though Einstein was German-born and Jewish. Seems a bit scattered but, then again, it may prove pure genius.

What’s more, the pedigree of the kitchen staff should dispel any doubts: Brandon Brumback, formerly of Roister, Grace, Blackbird, and the French Laundry, will serve as head chef alongside Rebecca Royster, of Hogsalt, as food and beverage director. Brumback says he has complete creative freedom, and he’s clearly happy to run with it. On the opening menu, for example, there are no repeated ingredients.

That said, he plans to stay technique-driven and approachable—“No liquid nitrogen.” And for appetizers like a Calabrian chili campanelle, they’ve invested in a fancy new pasta extruder and have clearly had a lot of fun with it, crafting a bright-red, chili-flavored pasta that’s topped with aged Pecorino and snow peas. Among the entrées, Brumback’s favorite is a Rohan duck cured like dry-aged beef and served in its super-crispy skin.

Royster, meanwhile, will focus on the bar program, which will serve science-minded cocktails, plus wine and beer, under a sculptural chandelier inspired by the beakers and test tubes of a laboratory. There seems to be a bit of mad science on display on the dessert menu as well: Vanarin Kuch, of New York’s Gotham Bar & Grille, concocts sweets like the carrot cake soufflé, topped with walnuts, pineapple, and salted caramel. If that doesn’t sound a little genius, we don’t know what does.

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