As the understudy to former executive chef Rodney Staton, Tommy Sheean was instrumental in earning The Drawing Room three forks in the 2013 Michelin Guide. As Staton’s recently christened successor, Sheean has his own goals, among them working with master bartender Sergio Serna to find more ways to pair the restaurant’s inventive but comforting cuisine with an ambitious beverage program that got it named one of Chicago magazine’s 12 best cocktail spots. Today’s Reserve selection invites you to savor their matchmaking with a four-course dinner for two or four with paired whiskey or wine tastings. For each person, dinner includes the following selections from the chef’s menu:
- Choice of first-course plate
- Choice of mid-course plate
- Choice of entree
- Chef-selected dessert
- Choice of whiskey flight or paired wines<p>
The whiskey flight includes:
- Buffalo Trace bourbon
- Redbreast 12-year Irish whiskey
- Bruichladdich scotch<p>
The wine flight includes the following choices:
- First-course: Alamos Malbec 2012 or Bogle Chardonnay 2012
- Mid-course: Montebuena Rioja 2010 or Peter Lehman Chardonnay 2011
- Third-course: Port or dessert wine<p>
Throughout the menu’s explorations, Chef Sheean keeps returning to two themes: traditional Southern dishes he devoured growing up in Atlanta and the local, seasonal produce he’s gotten to know up north. On the current menu, winter vegetables and citrus brighten many of the plates; so does a salad of red and golden beets that comes with a first-course plate of smoked trout. A mid-course dish of ricotta gnocchi continues the tart-and-earthy theme with winter squash puree and preserved lemon. A main-course of coulette steak gets a classic Southern accent of sweet potato, but there are also more unusual options such as a lamb burger and quinoa-and-squash crepe.
Such wintry dishes seem to call out for something rich and complex to sip, and drink pairings deliver with a sequence of whiskeys or wines. Tastings have been chosen with an eye toward sparking conversation among tablemates as they compare some very different potions. The former proceeds from all-American Buffalo Trace bourbon to an award-winning Irish whiskey from Redbreast to a pour of Bruichladdich scotch, which Serna calls “the Sex Pistols of the scotch industry” given its penchant for taking risks in the industry. The wine options are just as global, spanning continents including Argentina, California, Spain, and Australia as well as flavors from spicy to sweet to distinctly wine-y.
The Drawing Room
Since Esquire named The Drawing Room one of America's best bars in 2011, the subterranean den has undergone changes that have only added to its air of elegance and tradition. Chief mixologist Sergio Serna has ceded his mixers and martini glasses to apprentices Owen Worley and Will Patton, whose culinary cocktails evince a level of artistry that goes far beyond mere competence.
There’s no one secret to the bartenders’ craft, but one might boil it down to an essential three: fresh ingredients, house-made mixers, and small-batch spirits. Whether crafting an MadHattan with Templeton Rye and Punt e Mes, or mixing a Hemingway daiquiri with the barrel of an elephant gun, they gladly walk guests through the process. Chef Brian Beverly shares his counterpart’s obsession with fresh ingredients, crafting progressive American dishes with seasonal inspirations. The bar’s décor lives up to the food and drink with its shaded chandeliers and velvet chairs that slide together to form cushy loveseats.