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Acadia - Fine dining in the South Loop

Acadia - Fine dining in the South Loop
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  • Post #31 - February 16th, 2013, 12:57 pm
    Post #31 - February 16th, 2013, 12:57 pm Post #31 - February 16th, 2013, 12:57 pm
    Ahmad Shareef wrote:Been skimming the thread for when it opens - does anyone know? Hoping to grab a pre-Django lobster roll and probably need to get there at 5:30 to make it work.

    According to their website:

    Acadia website wrote:Hours of Operation

    Wed-Thurs 5-10
    Fri-Sat 5-11
    Sun 5-9

    Bar open late
  • Post #32 - February 16th, 2013, 3:28 pm
    Post #32 - February 16th, 2013, 3:28 pm Post #32 - February 16th, 2013, 3:28 pm
    Thanks, nsxtasy. I guess I should have added, for fear of someone busting a screen shot on me, that I checked the website and couldn't find it (now, after additional click throughs and sleuthing I found it under the reservations tool) and called the restaurant and got no answer.
  • Post #33 - April 16th, 2013, 2:07 pm
    Post #33 - April 16th, 2013, 2:07 pm Post #33 - April 16th, 2013, 2:07 pm
    Discussion about the great burger on the bar menu at Acadia has been reinforced by its selection as the best burger in Chicago by Time Out Chicago, and by raves from Steve Dolinsky, as noted here.
  • Post #34 - August 6th, 2013, 10:42 am
    Post #34 - August 6th, 2013, 10:42 am Post #34 - August 6th, 2013, 10:42 am
    Went back to the bar at Acadia to try the lobster roll this past weekend: Outstanding. Generous pieces of succulent lobster with just the right amount of seasoning.

    Next time I go back, there will be a tough decision between the burger and the lobster roll. Both of which were quite popular: everyone in the bar had one or the other the night we were there.

    Also, the barman, Arunas, makes some exquisitely crafted cocktails.

    Being off the beaten path in the South Loop has kept Acadia under the radar. But this place is an underrated gem.
    "This is the violet hour, the hour of hush and wonder, when the affections glow and valor is reborn, when the shadows deepen along the edge of the forest and we believe that, if we watch carefully, at any moment we may see the unicorn." Bernard DeVoto, The Hour.
  • Post #35 - August 9th, 2013, 12:19 pm
    Post #35 - August 9th, 2013, 12:19 pm Post #35 - August 9th, 2013, 12:19 pm
    And a great story in the Chicago Reader by fellow LTHer, Mike Gebert: http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/ar ... uy-damn-it
  • Post #36 - August 9th, 2013, 12:51 pm
    Post #36 - August 9th, 2013, 12:51 pm Post #36 - August 9th, 2013, 12:51 pm
    Good timing! I'm actually going there tomorrow evening for dinner, though sadly, my wallet can only manage the prix fixe menu.

    I'm looking forward to checking it out.
    In my house, you always save room for dessert.
  • Post #37 - August 10th, 2013, 9:24 pm
    Post #37 - August 10th, 2013, 9:24 pm Post #37 - August 10th, 2013, 9:24 pm
    Hurdler4eva wrote:And a great story in the Chicago Reader by fellow LTHer, Mike Gebert: http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/ar ... uy-damn-it


    I love Acadia's bar menu and have not had the pleasure yet of a full meal in the big room; will have to check it out. I remember a very friendly Ryan from Le Deux Gros in Glen Ellyn ten years ago. Confusingly, the official Acadia bio lists it as Le Deux Gras, which (while that restaurant did have a few iterations) I think is a typo, which has been repeated elsewhere.

    If the current top comment on the linked Reader article is from the real deal, there is a significant repeated error there as well, since (and I believe this to be true) he is not directly connected to the Chicago Bears-owning McCaskey family.
  • Post #38 - August 11th, 2013, 6:08 am
    Post #38 - August 11th, 2013, 6:08 am Post #38 - August 11th, 2013, 6:08 am
    I enjoyed my dinner last night very much! I had an early reservation (5pm), so the dining room was fairly quiet. I recommend this earlier time, if you're worried about wanting a last-minute reservation.

    Image
    Foyer

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    Bar

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    I was dining solo, but the staff made me feel completely comfortable and even had a table for me with just a single chair, so it didn't appear that I had been stood up for a date or something. As someone who often dines alone, this was appreciated!

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    The dining room is lovely and minimalist.

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    I started with a well-made (and LARGE) whiskey sour. Frothed egg white was perfect.

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    I went for the prix fixe menu with the optional cheese course, but w/o the wine pairing. This was the amuse: pork pate w/blueberry gelee, roasted tomato confit and mustard

    Image
    First course: "risotto"- yukon, zucchini, saffron, vanilla, basil (The "risotto" is actually finely diced bits of yukon gold potato; cooked perfectly. The transparent "umbrella" is a gelee made with agar-agar and zucchini water.)

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    Biscuit with LOTS o' butter. And I did eat every bit of that butter! :-)

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    I didn't do the wine pairing (since I was driving), but this sauterneswas lovely and went well with the whole mean. Fruity and not dry.

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    Second course: Stonington lobster- popcorn flan, succotash, chanterelles, bisque. The flan was WONDERFUL, with a texture that every custard should strive for. I could have eaten this course for DAYS. My ONLY issue is that this dish is served in a wide bowl and every time I tried to set my utensils down in the dish to have a drink (no additional napkin was given so I could place them on the table), the fork and knife would slide complete into the bowl, dirtying the handles. This is a MINOR quibble, but I mentioned it to the waiter afterward, in the hope that maybe they could rectify this (either by using a different serving dish or, less expensively, give the guest an extra napkin to place his/her flatware, so the diner doesn't have to lay it directly on the table).

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    Optional cheese course; Tête de Moine

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    Third course: Black strawberry- wild strawberries, black sesame, caramel. Full of bright summer strawberry flavor (fresh, powdered and "popsicle") with a schmear of black sesame paste with a white chocolate/caramel mousse (the waiter called it a creameaux, but it was more of a mousse) with an ultra-thin shard of black sesame caramel.

    Image
    Rounded out the meal with a very nice french-pressed coffee

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    Mignardises - a tiny "whoopie pie" filled with an intense dollop of dark chocolate ganache.

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    Upon leaving, I was gifted a little "thank you" brownie from the chef.

    I would highly recommend Acadia for the extremely high quality food and service. I will be back.

    Prix fixe menu: $67
    Whiskey sour: $14
    Cheese course: $15
    Guiraud: $15
    Coffee: $5

    Total (with tax): $128.47
    In my house, you always save room for dessert.
  • Post #39 - February 11th, 2014, 12:04 pm
    Post #39 - February 11th, 2014, 12:04 pm Post #39 - February 11th, 2014, 12:04 pm
    Any more recent experiences here, with either of the (prix fixe or tasting) menus? Is the bar seating just walk-in?

    Thanks in advance!
  • Post #40 - February 11th, 2014, 12:29 pm
    Post #40 - February 11th, 2014, 12:29 pm Post #40 - February 11th, 2014, 12:29 pm
    mtyf wrote:either of the (prix fixe or tasting) menus?

    Per Eater Chicago, Acadia also recently restored a la carte options to the main dining room.

    Incidentally, they also recently were awarded five diamonds by the AAA, one of only 47 restaurants nationwide with this honor.
  • Post #41 - January 25th, 2015, 9:56 am
    Post #41 - January 25th, 2015, 9:56 am Post #41 - January 25th, 2015, 9:56 am
    We ate at the bar last night. By 7:00 all or close to all of the bar seating was taken, so it's quite a popular option. Almost everyone in the bar was having either the burger or the lobster roll, and for good reason. Both are outstanding.

    The full a la carte menu, however, is available in the bar. My wife had a fantastic foie gras appetizer (at least that's what she reports; she didn't offer to share) and an equally good meyer lemon dessert. With cocktails, this in an expensive lite meal, but one we thoroughly enjoyed.

    The location is very good for a pre-Jazz Showcase meal, which is what we were doing. You can easily use metered parking across the street from Acadia, and you are 5 minutes away from the Showcase.
  • Post #42 - January 25th, 2015, 4:16 pm
    Post #42 - January 25th, 2015, 4:16 pm Post #42 - January 25th, 2015, 4:16 pm
    Jonah, your experience at the restaurant exactly corresponds with mine. My most enjoyable visits to Acadia have been in the bar area. The Acadia Burger, Stonington Lobster Roll, Banh Mi, and Mussels are all incredible. I believe I have eaten everything on the bar menu other than the Ramen. The desserts are also great. Ji Yoon, the new pastry chef, is extremely talented. She hails from The Gage and Henri Restaurant, and she fills former pastry chef Thomas Raquel's shoes well and then some! I have yet to do the a-la carte dishes up there in the bar, but intend to soon.

    My experience in the dining room with the tasting menu was good, but I thought it was extremely expensive for what it was. There were a couple of so-so courses, and for $600 I was encouraged to stick by the standby of the bar on return visits. I would consider returning for the tasting menu, but I'll wait for a stellar review to do so. The restaurant is comfortable and beautiful itself, and so is the kitchen. Acadia is certainly a solid place and it is worth visiting at least the bar. I wonder what the experience is like in the dining room just simply doing a-la carte.
    "People are too busy in these times to care about good food. We used to spend months working over a bonne-femme sauce, trying to determine just the right proportions of paprika and fresh forest mushrooms to use." -Karoly Gundel, Blue Trout and Black Truffles: The Peregrinations of an Epicure, Joseph Wechsberg, 1954.
  • Post #43 - January 25th, 2015, 4:26 pm
    Post #43 - January 25th, 2015, 4:26 pm Post #43 - January 25th, 2015, 4:26 pm
    Royal Lichter wrote:There were a couple of so-so courses, and for $600 I was encouraged to stick by the standby of the bar on return visits.

    For one? That seems really steep. How many courses? Did it include pairings, tax or tip?

    Thanks,

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #44 - January 25th, 2015, 4:37 pm
    Post #44 - January 25th, 2015, 4:37 pm Post #44 - January 25th, 2015, 4:37 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    Royal Lichter wrote:There were a couple of so-so courses, and for $600 I was encouraged to stick by the standby of the bar on return visits.

    For one? That seems really steep. How many courses? Did it include pairings, tax or tip?

    Thanks,

    =R=


    That was for a party of two, the meal was approximately twelve courses. I added on a foie gras supplement for $20 and that is approximately 3 glasses of wine per person (we are not huge drinkers when we dine out), and also includes tax-tip. I believe their tasting menu is $185.
    "People are too busy in these times to care about good food. We used to spend months working over a bonne-femme sauce, trying to determine just the right proportions of paprika and fresh forest mushrooms to use." -Karoly Gundel, Blue Trout and Black Truffles: The Peregrinations of an Epicure, Joseph Wechsberg, 1954.
  • Post #45 - January 25th, 2015, 4:49 pm
    Post #45 - January 25th, 2015, 4:49 pm Post #45 - January 25th, 2015, 4:49 pm
    Royal Lichter wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    Royal Lichter wrote:There were a couple of so-so courses, and for $600 I was encouraged to stick by the standby of the bar on return visits.

    For one? That seems really steep. How many courses? Did it include pairings, tax or tip?

    Thanks,

    =R=


    That was for a party of two, the meal was approximately twelve courses. I added on a foie gras supplement for $20 and that is approximately 3 glasses of wine per person (we are not huge drinkers when we dine out), and also includes tax-tip. I believe their tasting menu is $185.

    Ok. Thanks, for the clarification. That makes more sense but the base price is still substantially higher than it was at the beginning (double the price of the 8-course menu in April 2012). They've received a lot of accolades and notariety since then, so it's no great surprise that they've boosted prices.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #46 - March 30th, 2015, 8:10 am
    Post #46 - March 30th, 2015, 8:10 am Post #46 - March 30th, 2015, 8:10 am
    We had a nice dinner at Acadia on Saturday night that was unfortunately marred by a few service issues. We were in the main dining room and went with the a la carte menu. Our table of six uniformly raved about all of our starters and entrees. My favorite bite (or sip, in this case) was the chicken veloute, a sublime chicken soup with some perfectly cooked dumplings and vegetables. Shaved truffles didn't hurt either. The foie gras and charcuterie appetizers were also excellent. We all agreed, though, that the desserts were not particularly good.

    At their best, service was slow. At times we were ignored for long stretches. Neighboring tables were ignored too, which meant that twice when our server came to our table, he was grabbed by a person at another table who wanted something. Part of the problem seemed to be with the beverage service. We waited what seemed like a half hour for our drinks to arrive. Later, as empty glasses sat on the table, we joked about how much money restaurants leave on the table by not being ready to take orders for another round of drinks or bottle of wine. The worst service issues are those that happen at the end of the meal and cloud your overall feeling about the experience. In this case, my after-dinner drink arrived about 20 minutes after everyone else's, when we had all finished dessert and drinks.

    Anyways, it was a very good meal and a fun evening. The service issues, while certainly downtown, first-world problems, aren't those that you expect at a restaurant at that level.
  • Post #47 - March 30th, 2015, 2:43 pm
    Post #47 - March 30th, 2015, 2:43 pm Post #47 - March 30th, 2015, 2:43 pm
    Darren72 wrote:Anyways, it was a very good meal and a fun evening. The service issues, while certainly downtown, first-world problems, aren't those that you expect at a restaurant at that level.

    The service at Acadia hasn't been the same since their original GM and sommelier Jason Prah moved on last fall to open Bascule. I believe they are on their third som as Jason's original replacement departed after New Year's. There seems to be a large amount of turnover of the servers as well.

    Ironically, the food has significantly improved since opening. Chef McCaskey has developed his own culinary style and is putting out some exquisite, gorgeous food.

    Hopefully,the service issues are just a hiccup Acadia will correct soon.
    "This is the violet hour, the hour of hush and wonder, when the affections glow and valor is reborn, when the shadows deepen along the edge of the forest and we believe that, if we watch carefully, at any moment we may see the unicorn." Bernard DeVoto, The Hour.
  • Post #48 - May 6th, 2016, 9:09 am
    Post #48 - May 6th, 2016, 9:09 am Post #48 - May 6th, 2016, 9:09 am
    Another acclaimed restaurant has switched to ticketing and partly eliminated tipping. Ryan McCaskey's two-Michelin-starred Acadia has switched to Nick Kokonas' Tock for the tasting menu in the dining room and instituted a 23 percent service charge there, although walk-ins will still be available at the bar.

    http://chicago.eater.com/2016/5/6/11607 ... ening-date
    Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces.
    - Jack Benny
  • Post #49 - May 6th, 2016, 9:44 am
    Post #49 - May 6th, 2016, 9:44 am Post #49 - May 6th, 2016, 9:44 am
    Dave148 wrote:
    Another acclaimed restaurant has switched to ticketing and partly eliminated tipping. Ryan McCaskey's two-Michelin-starred Acadia has switched to Nick Kokonas' Tock for the tasting menu in the dining room and instituted a 23 percent service charge there, although walk-ins will still be available at the bar.

    http://chicago.eater.com/2016/5/6/11607 ... ening-date


    Appears that tax at Acadia is 11.75% on Tock (10.25% + 1% McPier + 0.5% ??), so after tax/service the total for 10 Course option for 2 on a Friday/Saturday night ($185 base) is $250 pp. $200 pp for Wed/Thurs when base price is $150. Glad the Great Recession is over!
  • Post #50 - May 6th, 2016, 12:18 pm
    Post #50 - May 6th, 2016, 12:18 pm Post #50 - May 6th, 2016, 12:18 pm
    Really surprised Acadia is switching to tickets. Despite tickets often being marketed/spun as being mutually beneficial between a restaurant and patron (I think I will be sick if I hear it described as creating a more relaxing, unencumbered experience again - or as creating transparency), in reality it is for the benefit of the restaurant at the expense of the patron.

    I do feel there is a small percentage of restaurants where tickets are a good idea, but these are small restaurants with more demand than supply and who suffer significant financial repercussions from a small number of no shows/late cancellations.

    My understanding is that Acadia is generally not at capacity. By switching to tickets, IMHO this will further reduce the number of diners who will potentially frequent this venue. Also, because most people do not want to pre-pay for a meal far out (or have to fully commit financially) people who otherwise would have made a reservation (and likely honored the reservation or canceled with ample notice) will hold off and quite possibly end up making other plans.

    Hopefully this works out for them, as Acadia is good for Chicago's dining scene, but as a customer I am irritated about this change, am less likely to dine at Acadia going forward and fear this will result in even larger numbers of empty tables.
    Twitter: @Goof_2
  • Post #51 - May 6th, 2016, 3:47 pm
    Post #51 - May 6th, 2016, 3:47 pm Post #51 - May 6th, 2016, 3:47 pm
    I do like that Acadia is honoring prepaid bookings via Tock for 1 year in the event that a diner needs to reschedule.

    (source: https://m.fsrmagazine.com/technology/ac ... ing-system )
    "People are too busy in these times to care about good food. We used to spend months working over a bonne-femme sauce, trying to determine just the right proportions of paprika and fresh forest mushrooms to use." -Karoly Gundel, Blue Trout and Black Truffles: The Peregrinations of an Epicure, Joseph Wechsberg, 1954.
  • Post #52 - May 6th, 2016, 5:07 pm
    Post #52 - May 6th, 2016, 5:07 pm Post #52 - May 6th, 2016, 5:07 pm
    I think 23 percent as a standard required gratuity is excessive.
  • Post #53 - February 4th, 2017, 2:14 pm
    Post #53 - February 4th, 2017, 2:14 pm Post #53 - February 4th, 2017, 2:14 pm
    Acadia just started offered a 4 course tasting menu at the bar for $45. Here is what we got:

    Opening plate with fried beef tendon (just like chicharones), deep fried head cheese and a cracker stuffed with cheese and wrapped in Iberico ham.

    Next up, seafood with cuttlefish and octopus topped by a squid ink noodly thing.

    Then smokey wagu beef with some potatoes and mushrooms.

    Dessert was a candy bar filled with nougat and malt ice cream.

    My descriptions don't do justice to the complexity of the dishes. This is very high quality and complex food, just like you'd get on the tasting menus around town.

    We loved our meal, because in about 1.5 hours, and for $45 per person (drinks, tax and tip not included), we felt like we got a top quality tasting menu experience. While we love tasting menus, they are normally reserved for a couple of times a year when you can devote several hours and a lot of money to a meal. Here, you can get the experience much more casually without even making a reservation.

    One cautionary note. Clearly, this meal won't work for big eaters, as the portions are tasting menu sized. It was a perfect amount of food for us, however.
  • Post #54 - May 6th, 2019, 12:56 pm
    Post #54 - May 6th, 2019, 12:56 pm Post #54 - May 6th, 2019, 12:56 pm
    We hit the bar at Acadia last night for dinner. We had tried one other time, but the wait was too long for three seats. Arriving at opening time helped us yesterday. The front patio seating was also available, which certainly gives diners more options. I wanted to sit at the bar for the social aspect. That worked out as we spent some time talking to our neighbor, a food writer from Portland, ME, who was in town for the James Beard awards. We also got to see Chef McCaskey prepare some dishes for an upcoming episode of Chef's Table.

    We started with a round of drinks. I don't remember the names or descriptions, so enjoy the picture. ;-)

    Image

    Mr. X and I split a dozen oysters. No photo and I failed to note the varieties.

    Two of us had the burger. I can see why it is one of the top in the city. We also split an order of fries.

    Image

    Mr. X had the "fried jidori chicken, pickled cauliflower, butter chicken sauce, cilantro." That was a fantastic dish.

    Image

    For dessert, we split the "roasted pineapple, zephyr caramel mousse, durian ice cream." I had some trepidation about the durian ice cream, but it was very mild. The only quibble I had was with the edible flower. It overwhelmed the bite it was on.

    Image

    Total bill before tip was $225, which included the food and drinks mentioned above plus 2 glasses of wine and 2 glasses of madeira. For the quality of food, we felt this was worth it. Service was attentive until the end. The bartender was talking with another guest at the other end of the bar while we waited to get his attention for more water and the check. Our new food writer friend ended up asking another staff person for us. Not the best way to end, but I'd still go back. The "bar snacks" option looks pretty good too. That's what the food writer had.
    -Mary
  • Post #55 - May 6th, 2019, 3:03 pm
    Post #55 - May 6th, 2019, 3:03 pm Post #55 - May 6th, 2019, 3:03 pm
    Food looks great but are mixed drinks really going for ~$19 each nowadays? Glad I quit drinking aside from the occasional Guinness.
  • Post #56 - May 6th, 2019, 3:06 pm
    Post #56 - May 6th, 2019, 3:06 pm Post #56 - May 6th, 2019, 3:06 pm
    Octarine wrote:Food looks great but are mixed drinks really going for ~$19 each nowadays? Glad I quit drinking aside from the occasional Guinness.

    I think the drinks were $14-18. Not unreasonable in my mind.
    -Mary
  • Post #57 - May 8th, 2019, 2:52 pm
    Post #57 - May 8th, 2019, 2:52 pm Post #57 - May 8th, 2019, 2:52 pm
    You just reminded me that I have intended to go here forever.

    Thanks
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #58 - May 10th, 2019, 10:29 am
    Post #58 - May 10th, 2019, 10:29 am Post #58 - May 10th, 2019, 10:29 am
    I think the drinks were $14-18. Not unreasonable in my mind.


    Maybe for you and some others but I think $18 for a cocktail is excessive in general.
    Certainly there are ingredient exceptions such as a well aged spirit or gold dust.
    But $18? Just no.
  • Post #59 - May 10th, 2019, 10:50 am
    Post #59 - May 10th, 2019, 10:50 am Post #59 - May 10th, 2019, 10:50 am
    hoppy2468 wrote:
    I think the drinks were $14-18. Not unreasonable in my mind.


    Maybe for you and some others but I think $18 for a cocktail is excessive in general.
    Certainly there are ingredient exceptions such as a well aged spirit or gold dust.
    But $18? Just no.

    I'm not saying I haven't paid $18 for a cocktail -- though, the occasions have been rare -- but that does seem to be the very top of the price range in town -- and a price one might expect to find a bit further north than Acadia. But yeah, Acadia is fine-dining, so I get it.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #60 - May 10th, 2019, 12:51 pm
    Post #60 - May 10th, 2019, 12:51 pm Post #60 - May 10th, 2019, 12:51 pm
    hoppy2468 wrote:
    I think the drinks were $14-18. Not unreasonable in my mind.


    Maybe for you and some others but I think $18 for a cocktail is excessive in general.
    Certainly there are ingredient exceptions such as a well aged spirit or gold dust.
    But $18? Just no.

    hoppy-

    I didn't mean to give the impression that I'm a regular consumer of $18 cocktails. ;-) I thought the price point for the cocktails at Acadia was not unreasonable for the quality of ingredients. The highest priced cocktail had some high end spirits and house-made ingredients that seemed to warrant the price tag.
    -Mary

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