Sixteen: Exquisite Seasonally-Inspired Michelin Star Dining at Trump International Hotel, Chicago, Illinois

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Sixteen is a Fred Bollaci Enterprises Golden Palate Partner,™ having been awarded the Fred Bollaci Enterprises Golden Palate Certificate of Excellence™  for its excellent cuisine, impeccable service, gorgeous ambiance, and breathtaking views of Chicago on the sixteenth floor of the elegant Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago.

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Pictured above: Tomato Gelee, Quinoa, Avocado and Sorrel with Pea Espuma, Lemon, Mint and Espelette.

Located in the heart of elegant downtown Chicago, Sixteen is the Michelin two-star rated restaurant on the 16th floor of the Chicago Trump International Hotel & Tower. Sixteen provides guests a fine dining experience with seasonal and tasting menus flawlessly executed by Chef Thomas Lents matched by exceptional city views from the 30-foot floor to ceiling windows that frame breathtaking vistas of Lake Michigan, the Chicago River, and the Wrigley Clock Tower, with a large outdoor terrace, perfect for cocktails or special events. Sixteen is the ultimate Chicago dining experience!

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Each menu at Sixteen tells a story shaped by the inspirations drawn every day from the products, people and places around us. The menu changes completely each season.  Dining in late September, we got to experience the new 2015 Fall Menu. “With the solstice or equinox we begin again; a restaurant redefined, a new narrative with the same voice. The menu may be a poem, a cart, or an astrological wheel, but it is all united. The food, the service, the wine, and the dining room evolve with the stories we choose to relay of our lives at our restaurant.”

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Sixteen is haute cuisine, yet it is also a feast for the senses and is a fun, interactive dining experience for guests, and one of the most enjoyable haute dining experiences in America. The menus change seasonally, encouraging diners to interact with the food and contemplate the rhythm of our earth and lives, most particularly the foods that sustain us. In the Spring of 2013, diners wandered from dawn to slumber in “One Winters Day.” In the Summer, guests created their own menu from a cart of fresh produce with the “Summer Market”. “A Feast for Autumn” invited guests to dine communally with the harvest’s bounty. This year began with a focus on the world just outside our windows. A map-themed menu transported diners through “A Story of Chicago” while the “Day and Night Skies” offered a glimpse upward towards the celestial bodies that impact our life cycles.

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Executive Chef Thomas Lents, a Michigan native holds an advanced placement culinary art degree from the New England Culinary Institute, where he studied under founding Chef Michel LeBorgne.

Chef Lents came to Sixteen in January 2012, after working in some the world’s most celebrated fine-dining establishments. At Sixteen, Lents is renowned for his innovative, thought-provoking seasonal menus that marry traditional fine dining with his own modern style and perspective, creating works of art and a feast for all the senses.
Chef Lents began his career as executive sous chef of Chicago’s four-star restaurant Everest, under the direction of Chefs Jean Joho and Thierry Tritsch. After a five-year tenure, he sought to expand his culinary horizons by moving to Dublin, Ireland, where he worked as a sous chef in charge of the wild game and seafood departments at the Michelin two star-rated Thornton Restaurant inside the Fitzwilliam Hotel. Chef Lents took advantage of his proximity to England and worked in several acclaimed kitchens, including the Michelin three star-rated Waterside Inn in Bray and Le Manoir Aux Quatres Saisons in Great Milton.
Upon returning to the United States in 2007, Thomas accepted a position at the Michelin three star, five-diamond Joel Rubochon at The Mansion inside Las Vegas’ MGM Grand, where he was quickly promoted from sous chef of the meat and fish stations to executive sous chef. In 2008, he moved to San Francisco to take the chef de cuisine position at the Michelin-rated Quince Restaurant, before Chef Robuchon reached out and offered him the opportunity to be the first American to serve as chef de cuisine of his namesake restaurant – a position Lents graciously accepted until returning to Chicago in 2012.

Coincidentally, we had the pleasure of dining at Sixteen the evening of the Autumnal Equinox, and enjoyed the new 2015 Autumn Menu, titled “Food in Progress: Assessing an American Food Revolution.” Executive Chef Thomas Lents wants to encourage diners to take a pause to contemplate the world we live in and how it feeds us. For our tasting menu, we began with “The Harvest,” Panna Cotta of Heirloom Corn and Imperial Ossetra Caviar, Shaved Root Vegetables, Pistachio, and Hay Frost, as well as Roasted Pumpkin with natural juices. Each course comes with tasting notes, an optional wine pairing, and a thought provoking note from the chef. For the seafood selections, we enjoyed Dover Sole with Chestnuts, Celeriac, and Vin Jaune (with the accompanying thoughts: “Fish: A Rising Demand, a Rising Cost,” “Now a Global Demand and a Global Issue,” and “Shellfish: A Bounty Lost, a Lesson Learned.” Next, we sampled the succulent Roast Lobster with Pine, Succulents, and Nora Pepper Romesco. Other courses included “The Ranch” which featured chicken prepared two ways: Breast of Young Hen, Australian Black Truffle, Lemon Confit, and Braised Leek “The Price of Abundance,” and “A Way Forward from the Ways of Our Past” Hen’s Thigh and Oyster, Apricot Mostarda, Calabrian Chili, and Parmesan. Beef selections on the fall menu include: Smoked Beef Rib, Rye, Pickled Cucumber, Shallot Puree, and Wasabi-Infused Devonshire Cream “The Heart of the American Meal,” and Miso Roasted Eggplant, Caramelized Onion, Beef Tongue, and Fried Garlic Roots.

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Whole Roasted Pumpkin

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The Harvest Tasting Menu

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Cuisine at Sixteen is elevated to art. Wine service, an important part of any great meal is flawless, service is outstanding!

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11215839_10153663316908413_5554860097640112679_nPictured above: Matcha Genoise, Ricotta Cream and Raspberry Milk Jelly.

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Beautiful views of Chicago and Lake Michigan from the terrace (above) and from our table (below).
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The restaurant suggests allowing 10-15 minutes prior to your reservation time to visit the Terrace for drinks or photos (a definite must if it is your first visit). The extensive wine list and thoughtful pairing selections to complement each course make dining at Sixteen even more extraordinary! Wines are presented by Sommelier Parag Lalit, an outstanding professional with extensive knowledge–a wonderful resource to help guide diners to enjoy new and exciting wines to further enhance the experience. I suggest trying one of the wine pairings (Sixteen offers excellent selections at an approachable price point with Clos or for the ultimate indulgence, the much pricier Cru featuring some of the most outstanding wines in the world). Either is an excellent opportunity to sample new wines with expert guidance. Some favorites we tried from the Clos pairing include: Domaine du Collier, Chenin Blanc from Saumur, France, Two Paddocks 2014 Riesling from Central Otago, New Zealand, Domaine Sigalas Assyrtiko 2014 (barrel aged white wine) from the island of Santorini, Greece, and Massican, a white blend of Tocai Friulano, Ribolla Gialla, and Chardonnay “Cuvee Annia” from Calistoga, Napa Valley (2014).

See you in Chicago, and please tell Chef Lents, Manager Doug Kahn, and the folks at Sixteen that Fred Bollaci sent you, and bon appetit!

Sixteen
401 N. Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
312.588.8030

Also visit Trump International Hotel, Chicago.

About Fred Bollaci

I'm CEO and President of Fred Bollaci Enterprises. I lost more than 100 pounds while living "La Dolce Vita" and I'm now known as "The Healthy Gourmet." Sample the good life with me through fitness, fine food, and good wine. Meet chefs who cater to a healthy gourmet lifestyle through my Golden Palate blog.
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