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Travelle, Chicago

Travelle, Chicago

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Travelle isn’t what you might expect. When I hear that a restaurant is in a hotel, my expectations automatically readjust. I expect a sterile unwelcoming space beside hotel lobby. You will be pleased to learn that Travelle at the Langham Hotel is none of these things. It feels like a restaurant, not a hotel restaurant.

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The space is modern yet welcoming, with a lively bar on one side, and a dining room on the other with a visible kitchen with glass walls. The carefully designed layout, which divides the dining room into different spaces gives it a more intimate feeling.

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Recently my friend Kelly, who does PR for the Langham, invited me to try the new spring menu at Travelle. Kudos to Chef Tim Graham (no, we are not related) for creating a fun fresh menu full of inventive new dishes that I have never seen before. We decided to order several things on the menu and to share them so that we could save room for dessert. It turns out that Kelly and I are both dessert people.

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When Kelly suggested ordering the Black Bean Fries I was instantly sold. Black beans are one of my favorite ingredients and I was incredibly curious to see how Chef Graham would accomplish turning beans into fries. The beans were mashed and formed into wide fries, dusted in a bit of spice, and served with an addictively delicious avocado and scallion aioli. Definitely something you must try.

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We also tried the roasted pork shoulder flatbread with fontina, apples, and mint. The thin crispy flatbread had a generous amount of tender pork, and the addition of mint was a perfect nod to spring.

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I enjoy how Chef Graham stays true to his ingredients and doesn’t overcomplicate things, and a great example of this is the Boar Meatballs, one of Kelly’s favorites. The meatballs were served over rustic homemade pasta, with baby zucchini, in a butter sauce with a bit of Parmesan. The meatballs themselves were lighter than I had expected and not the least big gamey.

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We caught the attention of the restaurant when our champagne risotto arrived. The risotto is served table side, from the center of a large wheel of Parmesan.

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The risotto was thick creamy and full of Parmesan and with a nice mild champagne flavor. It was served with pickled grapes, sliced almonds, and parsley. The pickled grapes were a fun touch and they contrasted with the cheese well. The split portion was just the right amount because it forced me to save room for dessert, which is not to be missed.

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Then it was time for dessert. I am a sucker for a cream puff and Travelle’s State Fair Cream Puff was divine. It was filled with a light sweet mascarpone cream and served with an espresso anglaise.

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The pastry itself had a flaky texture, and it soaked up the delicious anglaise. The espresso anglaise had a more mild espresso taste and I loved the flavor combination of the mascarpone and the anglaise.

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Kelly ordered the Peanut Butter Bostock with banana, caramel, and milk chocolate ice cream. Bostock is basically a dessert French toast.

I was very impressed by Travelle. The food and atmosphere were both outstanding. Travelle is a great option for a date night, or a business dinner due to its proximity to the Loop. Travelle’s bar would be a nice spot for after work drinks. The cocktail menu is wonderful, I loved the Eighteen Sixty Five a champagne cockail with cognac and elderflower, while Kelly’s favorite is the Beet It a cocktail with beet juice, melon, citrus, and cinnamon.

Travelle at the Langham is located at 330 North Wabash Avenue, they do accept reservations.

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