20 Jul The Best Restaurant Trend of 2016
Since living downtown, Dan and I have probably been to hundreds of restaurants and we’ve come to truly appreciate a fantastic dining experience, one that goes above and beyond serving good food. But because Dan and I are currently in a “savings mindset,” we limit ourselves to dining out just once or twice a month, so when we do go out, we try and make it count. I had been reading and hearing fantastic things about Maple & Ash, Chicago’s new Gold Coast steakhouse and consequently made a reservation 4 weeks in advance, which was necessary to avoid eating at 10pm. Leading up to our date night, we talked about going almost daily and when our date night finally arrived, we celebrated by dressing up and leisurely walking around the neighborhood prior to our reservation.
I should stress that our typical Friday evening involves sweatpants, cooking and a new movie on the couch — so getting dressed up and dropping $300 on dinner called for the massive hype.
As soon as we got to Maple & Ash, we both fell in love with the decor, the ambiance and the friendly staff, who repeatedly congratulated us (we were celebrating a work victory) and had high expectations for what was to come. Our lovely waitress explained the menu and brought us our amuse bouche: delicious, fresh radishes with shallot butter. Sounds super weird, but the radishes were spicy & crunchy and perfectly paired with the butter. Yum. Sidenote: if you have the chance, to purchase fresh radishes at the farmer’s market this year, do the following:
- Wash & chop the radishes in half lengthwise
- Mix 3 tbsp butter with 1 clove of black garlic and a pinch of salt
- Dip small radish chunks into butter
- Enjoy (you probably only need 1 or 2 radishes each–they’re strong)
Anyways, what our waitress did next is the reason I’m writing this article. Along with the amuse bouche, Maple & Ash serves an AMUSE BOOZE: a mini craft cocktail that both pairs with the amuse bouche and wakes up your 21+ year old palette. How fun is that?! It also came in a mini martini glass, which made it infinitely better. That evening, the cocktail was a grapefruit juice, chamomile and vodka martini; I’m not a huge vodka fan OR martini fan but I would have that cocktail again and again.
It takes a lot to surprise us when we go out to eat, but Maple & Ash and their AMUSE BOOZE certainly did. I can only hope other restaurants follow suit. Have you ever had a restaurant serve an Amuse Booze? Also, I should mention that Dan had an after dinner drink called the Scotchy Scotch Scotch — Ron Burgundy would’ve been proud — and we’ve since made our own amuse booze appetizers prior to having dinner at home. #netflixandchill…andamusebooze
Shop these fun glasses and make your own Amuse Booze at home!