Today’s post is another of my occasional restaurant reviews. I wanted to share my impressions on one of my favorites, 3 1/2 years old, Sophie’s. This little jewel is tucked away on the Seventh Floor of Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago. The good news is that it has its own elevator that whisks you up to the Men’s Store where it is located. But I would recommend you take the escalator so you can “browse” the floors (and think about adding to your fall wardrobe while doing so!!!) going up and down before and after your meal.
Let’s first discuss the name Sophie’s. For those of you who have been following nenasnotes, you have seen several posts that have mentioned the restaurant and my December 2, 2016, post on its namesake, Sophie Gimbel. Sophie Gimbel was one of the most important designers of the 1930’s through the 1950’s. Do pull up the post I know you will enjoy it.
The two large photos are of vintage Sophie garments and are the first things you see when you enter the restaurant. You can see in this photo, the bar where you can have a refreshing drink to enhance your shopping experience and/or a bite to eat.
I was invited by Chef Ron Aleman and Chris Dunstatter, Manager, to sample Chef Aleman’s new menu. It changes 4 times a year and special items appear more often, well, needless to say, I didn’t hesitate to take them up on their offer!
The restaurant, I was seated by the windows to the right. It is a view like no other. This space was formally the Beauty Salon at Saks, in my opinion, a waste…I can only dream of the events I could have done here! Oh well, I’ll have to be content with eating delicious food instead!
My view…isn’t it perfection!!
Now for the food….Chef selected two starters and two entrees for me to taste and photograph as well as two desserts, one of which was a trial run. I usually indulge in a glass or two of wine, I didn’t do that on this occasion. I must mention, that the burger is one of the best in the City…I feel an upcoming post on my favorite burgers in Chicago!
My first starter Marrakesh Watermelon Salad, red and golden watermelon, mint, crispy feta, on mixed greens with a balsamic reduction with an olive tapenade. Truly photo op ready and more importantly totally delicious…and I am not a fan of watermelon nor feta, this dish completely changed my mind!
Next was Focaccia Soppresata, fresh mozzarella, green olives, roasted tomatoes and truffle oil. Chef’s version of pizza! Amazing presentation and was very good.
And now the entrees…Pan Seared Chilean Salmon, with green beans, grape tomatoes, shishito peppers and truffle corn sauce. I am a major lover of salmon and this was one of the best preparations I have had!
Not your usual Avacado Toast…isn’t it incredibly beautiful and tasted just as wonderful. I posted this picture on Instagram and it has gotten the most hits by far of any of my photos. The ingredients, toasted harvest wheat, a perfectly cooked soft boiled egg (you can see it tucked into the greens at the top of the photo) mixed greens, radish, marinated tomato salad. Extraordinary!
Dessert was this lucious panne cotta on a cake base surrounded by a medley of fresh berries, a berry puree with a dollap of lightly whipped cream, not only gorgeous to look at but a delight to eat.
Oh, my goodness, the finale and at the time wasn’t on the menu….grilled fresh peaches with candied pecans and a scoop of ice cream….unbelievably good!
I do have to admit I only ate portions of each dish (why didn’t I ask for a doggie bag, I must have had a brain lapse!) but could have devoured each.
Do stop by and have a wonderful meal at a leisurely pace and a break from your shopping you won’t be disappointed and do let me know your thoughts after you visit. By the way, there is a private space to have a lovely gathering that holds up to 15 people.
Chef Aleman will share another of his recipes in a future post.
The food photos are all mine, the interior shots are from Sophie’s and others are from Pinterest photo credits unknown.
Here are a couple of summer drink recipes (I think they can be year round) from my recipe box. I made these while visiting last weekend on our way to the eclipse (at home not during the drive!!!)
Nena’s Red Sangria
This recipe comes from the late Larry Dobson by way of Spain so very authentic.
1 bottle dry red wine
1 large orange squeezed plus 1 large orange thinly sliced
1 large lemon squeezed plus 1 large lemon thinly sliced
12 maraschino cherries with juices
4 jiggers brandy
4 jiggers Cointreau
2 Tablespoons sugar
Combine ingredients, stir cover and chill over night. Spoon fruit into glasses pour in wine and top with a splash soda water just before serving. Be careful this is potent!!!!
Tom’s White Sangria
1 bottle dry white wine
1 lime sliced (additional for garnish)
1 lemon sliced (additional for garnish)
2 ripe peaches cut into wedges
3 ripe green apples seeded and cut into wedges
1 pear cut into thin slices
A hand full of seedless green grapes
3 shots of Calvados or pear brandy
3 shots of Triple Sec
Combine all ingredients and chill overnight. Spoon fruit into glasses and pour wine over fruit, top each glass with a splash of soda water. Enjoy, again potent stuff but really, really good,.