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Premise - casual fine dining in Andersonville

Premise - casual fine dining in Andersonville
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  • Premise - casual fine dining in Andersonville

    Post #1 - May 7th, 2012, 11:57 pm
    Post #1 - May 7th, 2012, 11:57 pm Post #1 - May 7th, 2012, 11:57 pm
    Premise opened in the In Fine Spirits Lounge spot about a month ago. Although the ownership of the space is the same as before, the focus is different. The space is now a chic, but casual fine dining spot, more upscale than any restaurants in the area including Goosefoot IMHO. (I'm not an expert on the area, however)

    I went last weekend without any personal recommendations or reading any reviews and loved it. I felt that the atmosphere, service, beverage program and food were all spectacular and I will be back very shortly.

    Atmosphere

    The interior was designed by 555 design, the same designer that has done many of the boka group restaurants lately. The walls an ceilings are very dark, but contrast nicely with the light tile floor and light, plush chairs. There back of the bar is Chicago common brick. The music is some sort of bassy, clubby, never-ending song although it isn't too loud so I didn't mind. The feel is very modern and hip, but comfortable. Upstairs is a lounge which sports a bunch of chairs and couches. It feels like a private club up there.


    Service

    I happended to know the server that was assigned to our table from another restaurant where he worked. I'm sure that helped make the evening more enjoyable since he already knew some of our preferences. The restaurant also has a wine director, who visited the table several times. He seemed knowledgeable and helpful. Service was great. IMHO, they do refill the water glasses a bit too frequently. I love me some water, but it was almost comical.


    Beverage Program

    Due to their liquor store next door and previous lounge experience, they have an advantage over other new concepts in this area and it showed. Their beer list was compact, but solid. Many of my favorites were there. They had about 8 cocktails. Although I'm not a cocktail expert, the cocktails were on the more traditional side. I enjoyed my Manhattan. I believe the salon/lounge upstairs may have a more progressive/modern list of cocktails. The wine director was pouring some more expensive off-the-list wines by the glass which had been opened earlier for staff tasting. This was a nice way to have a glass of expensive champagne without needing to spring for an entire bottle. I was happy with the wines by the glass. I didn't look too much at their by-the-bottle list, but I do recall that they may need to supplement their list with more expensive wines by the bottle if this place gets as popular as I expect.


    Food

    Finally, the food. Everything I said until now would be irrelevant if the food sucked. It was excellent, much better than I anticipated, even though I had chef's cooking at Graham Elliot several times in the past. Perhaps I'd grown sick of Graham Elliot (the restaurant) by the time Runge had taken over (each time they tweek the format or chef there I like it less, however I don't think it's the chef's fault since I like the cooking of the chefs when they've been elsewhere. It's possible I'm getting old and yearn for the good old days when GE was more casual, but I wouldn't be surprised if GE will regret tinkering with their format. I'm comfortable saying this since my name doesn't rhyme with any swears.)

    Sorry for the rant.

    The menu consists of 6 appetizers ($11 - $16), 6 entrees ($19 - $27) and 3 desserts ($10). They also offer a 5 course tasting for $70. About half the menu was seafood and the balance is veg, poultry, pork and lamb (no beef).

    We started with 3 appetizers. They were:

    Fluke Tartare - uni sabayon, toasted nori, sea beans, wild rice, lotus root and dashi gel.
      This was probably the least successful dish of the night, but it would have been fine had I not known there was supposed to be uni. A lot of times I order based upon the dishes' supporting cast. I love uni and just didn't get any of it in the sabayon.

    Compressed Melon - warm buttermilk, baby cucumber, petite arugula, candied peanuts, chive oil.
      My wife loved this dish. I'm not a buttermilk person (can't eat ranch or mayo either), but I was told it worked very well with the melon balls and nuts.

    Prawns - tapioca pearls, lime zest, coconut powder, thai basil, red curry, frothed ginger, micro cilantro, toasted coconut.
      This dish had the most modernist influence. It worked perfectly since the star of the dish was cooked prefectly (some would say spot-on). Everyone invited to the party was there for a reason. Great dish. I'm splitting hairs now, but I had a lot of tapioca left when I was done with the rest

    Onto entrees:

    I had the smoked salmon. I usually don't like cooked salmon, but I couldn't pass up the dish because of the other components:

    Smoked Salmon - cauliflower puree, pickled onion, fried caper, poppy seed, blis roe.
      I ordered the salmon rare - medium rare. It was delivered as I wished. I enjoyed it more than I hoped I would. The other components all played nicely with each other although I'm not sure the poppy seed added any value. I could be wrong, however, because I thoroughly enjoyed the dish.

    My wife had the

    Maine Cod - jackknife clam, leek fondu, fiddlehead fern, potato confit.
      I didn't get too much of a taste of this. She loved it though.

    Desserts

    I'm not sure if they have a pastry chef, but both of their desserts were stellar.

    Carrot Cake - honey comb, fromage blanc, pea gelato, freeze-dried pea
      The flavors of peas and carrots is familiar, but is unique (to me) in the context of a dessert. Add in the honey comb and you have a winner

    Chocolate Torte - ancho crumble, horchata custard, chorizo espuma, cinnamon ice cream
      This was a chocolate cake with a Mexican flair. Spicy and sweet. I haven't had this combo too much. Reminded me of those chocolate bars with the chili powder in it. You taste the sweet and bitter before you get the spicy. I'd definitely order this again.

    In all, the two of us had 3 appetizers, 2 entrees and 2 desserts. We also had 3 cocktails/wines a piece. The tab was about $250 with tip. I found it absolutely reasonable, especially considering we spent about the same at Saigon Sisters about a month ago. Same amount of food and drinks at both places, but here I left feeling like I had a meal at a fine dining restauarant.

    I felt the portion sizes and amount of food we ordered was perfect, but some may feel that they would need to order more. Although I'm not a yelper, many of the Premise gripes over there are about the value proposition. I think the value here is a positive, but I guess it is all about expectations. Perhaps many of them were used to the food prices at In Fine Spirits Lounge.

    How does Premise compare to other similar restaurants? Obviously this restaurant reminded me of Graham Elliot, or what I wish Graham Elliot is. It also reminded me of June in Peoria (but I realize many haven't been there). The food reminded me of Sprout or Quince although I believe Chef Runge is a bit more polished/edited and less likely to add a superfluous ingredient (disclaimer - I've only been to each of those places once). The atmosphere is definitely more hip than both of those locations. Although the prices and plating at Premise are similar to Acadia, Acadia has a much more traditional menu and atmosphere.

    Premise
    5420 NORTH CLARK STREET
    CHICAGO, IL 60640
    http://www.premisechicago.com/
    773-334-9463
  • Post #2 - May 8th, 2012, 7:40 am
    Post #2 - May 8th, 2012, 7:40 am Post #2 - May 8th, 2012, 7:40 am
    Matt-

    Thanks for the thorough report. I'm anxious to try Premise, although I'll miss the simplicity of stopping in just for a glass of wine or a cocktail at the former In Fine Spirits Lounge.
    -Mary
  • Post #3 - May 8th, 2012, 7:54 am
    Post #3 - May 8th, 2012, 7:54 am Post #3 - May 8th, 2012, 7:54 am
    The GP wrote:Matt-

    Thanks for the thorough report. I'm anxious to try Premise, although I'll miss the simplicity of stopping in just for a glass of wine or a cocktail at the former In Fine Spirits Lounge.


    Correct...I think this is what many of the locals will miss. You may want to check out the upstairs lounge for a quick drink. It seemed cool, but I think it doesn't open until 7:00 PM. Downstairs they do have a bar that was about 25 feet long.
  • Post #4 - May 10th, 2012, 11:01 am
    Post #4 - May 10th, 2012, 11:01 am Post #4 - May 10th, 2012, 11:01 am
    I thought this thread was asking for a recommendation where the premise was casual fine dining in Andersonville.
  • Post #5 - May 10th, 2012, 11:15 am
    Post #5 - May 10th, 2012, 11:15 am Post #5 - May 10th, 2012, 11:15 am
    Who's on fist?


    ---
    I am here: http://tapatalk.com/map.php?11kwr1
  • Post #6 - May 10th, 2012, 11:17 am
    Post #6 - May 10th, 2012, 11:17 am Post #6 - May 10th, 2012, 11:17 am
    milz50 wrote:Who's on fist?


    That would be "ouch." (Or not.)
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #7 - May 12th, 2012, 3:32 pm
    Post #7 - May 12th, 2012, 3:32 pm Post #7 - May 12th, 2012, 3:32 pm
    Milz50. Thanks for the honest feedback. We appreciate your candor and your take on our space. And I agree that Chef Brian is talented. His play of color, texture, and flavor is balanced which makes it amazing. He definitely takes you on a journey.
  • Post #8 - May 25th, 2012, 10:10 am
    Post #8 - May 25th, 2012, 10:10 am Post #8 - May 25th, 2012, 10:10 am
    I stopped in yesterday for a few drinks and feel like the bar program, now helmed by the immensely talented Luke Lefiles (Hot Chocolate, etc.), is back in the top tier, relative to when it was still In Fine Spirits and Ben Schiller was at the helm. Premise's downstairs bar menu is indeed, refreshingly, classic-heavy. It offers fairly traditional takes an Old Fashioned (I had one and it was very nice), a Manhattan, an Aviation, a Negroni (barrel-aged), to name just a few. But yes, the drink menu is now smaller and is no longer all over the place. There's a tight focus and it's a successful one. You look at this menu and you know exaxctly what this bar intends to be.

    Upstairs, a smaller, more intimate bar known as The Salon, is the other side of the coin. Spirits here range from ultra-premium to semi-rare and the menu is populated by Lefiles' originals, which lean toward the boozier/stirred side. If it's not too busy, Lefiles is happy to go off menu and riff off a customer's spirit and flavor preferences. I had one drink from the menu and a couple more Dealer's Choices. I thought the drinks were tasty, distinctive and very much in balance.

    I didn't eat but Premise's downstairs menu -- described above nicely by milz50 -- looked great. If we didn't have dinner plans elsewhere, I surely would have tried a few items but I know I'll be back soon for dinner. There are also a few bites on The Salon's menu, which also looked promising.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

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

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #9 - June 3rd, 2012, 5:26 pm
    Post #9 - June 3rd, 2012, 5:26 pm Post #9 - June 3rd, 2012, 5:26 pm
    I've been back to Premise a couple more times over the past week and I like it more with each visit. Food, by chef Brian Runge, and beverage are distinctive and of impeccable quality. Service is remarkably friendly and polished.

    Dinner on Wednesday night was every bit as good as the menu led me to believe it would be. We ordered a couple dishes from the Prelude section of the menu and a couple from the Body section. Because I go way back with the inimitable Scott Noorman, who was our server on this night, we were comped a couple of stellar pairings, including a delicious sparkling wine out of Michigan, which iirc, was an L. Mawby Blanc de Blanc. This was poured for us after we finished our cocktails. I had a tasty Manhattan (IFS barrel-select Buffalo Trace bourbon, Carpano Antica Formula vermouth, Angostura bitters). I love that the Carpano is actually on tap at the downstairs bar.

    Fluke tartare (uni sabayon, toasted nori, sea beans, wild rice, lotus root, dashi gel) was phenomenal. The fish was clean and meaty. The accompanying elements showcased the fish very well, and shined on their own. The crispy wild rice provided a perfect textural contrast. Mediterranean mackerel (quail egg, manzanilla tapenade, haricot vert, confit fingerling, citrus vinaigrette) was another winning dish. Again the fish was stellar. It was nicely cooked. It was tender, oily and intense. The egg, tapenade and fingerling really worked well in supporting the fish. Compressed melon (warm buttermilk, baby cucumber, petite arugula, candied peanuts, chive oil) was a great plate with complementary notes of salty, sweet, tangy and bitter working in unison.

    Smoked salmon (cauliflower puree, pickled onion, fried caper, poppy seed, blis roe) was my favorite course. Again, the fish was cooked perfectly, so it maintained its delicate flavor and its unctuousness. I loved the combination of flavors here and thought the cauliflower puree was a great choice that had been very well executed. Crisp falafel (lentil tabouli, celery chutney, green garlic, preserved lemon) was more croquette-like than traditional and I liked its crispy exterior and interior creaminess. Flavors were great here, too. With this round from the Body section, we were treated to some Manzanilla La Cigarrera sherry, which was out of this world. The nuttiness was a great accent for the flavors on the plates.

    After dinner, we headed upstairs to The Salon, where, as I mentioned above, Luke Lefile's cocktails are a major draw in their own right. I meant to pinch a copy of his ambitious menu but I forgot (soon, I hope). No matter, on this not-too-busy late weeknight we were going strictly Dealer's Choice. Near the end of our session, Luke stirred up a couple of whiskey cocktails in which he used some Charleston 'Sercial' Special Reserve Madeira from the Rare Wine Company Historic Series. The addition of this complex, fortified wine added a layer of flavor to the finish of the cocktail that was magical.

    A few days later, an early stop during a friend's marathon bachelor party landed 11 of us back at The Salon (actually, the ultra-comfy balcony bar just off The Salon, to be precise) for some kick-off libations and snacks. Again, drinks from Luke's menu were tasty, as were pours of IFS barrel-select Elmer T. Lee bourbon. While taking in the breeze and the setting sun, I enjoyed a relatively tough-to-find bottle of Greenbush 1825, a Belgian-style strong ale that was very tasty, and definitely my favorite beer I've tasted from this brewery. We shared some foie gras-filled pretzels and pickled eggs. I thought both bar bites were delicious, and I especially appreciated the (fried?) exterior crispiness of the large pretzel nuggets. They were filled with the foie from the bottom almost like a filled donut might be.

    I'm eager to get back to Premise. What I've had there so far has been great and there's a lot more to explore. I've been talking up the place so much, my wife is kind of pissed at me that she hasn't been there yet. I hope to change that very soon. :D

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

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

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #10 - June 5th, 2012, 1:22 pm
    Post #10 - June 5th, 2012, 1:22 pm Post #10 - June 5th, 2012, 1:22 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Dinner on Wednesday night was every bit as good as the menu led me to believe it would be. We ordered a couple dishes from the Prelude section of the menu and a couple from the Body section. Because I go way back with the inimitable Scott Noorman, who was our server on this night, we were comped a couple of stellar pairings, including a delicious sparkling wine out of Michigan, which iirc, was an L. Mawby Blanc de Blanc. This was poured for us after we finished our cocktails. I had a tasty Manhattan (IFS barrel-select Buffalo Trace bourbon, Carpano Antica Formula vermouth, Angostura bitters). I love that the Carpano is actually on tap at the downstairs bar.

    I just wanted to update this and report that the 3-course wine pairings are complimentary for everyone who orders tasting menus on Wednesdays, which is a great deal. I believe we still got a bit of a kindness thrust upon us because we didn't actually order tasting menus (but went with a few a la carte items instead).

    Also, menus are (now?) posted online. They may have been posted previously but I only noticed them today. Here's a link to The Salon menu (links to all menus are here). The Louisville Baton (Rittenhouse 100, averna, fresh mint & lemon oil) is sensational. The Abbot's Anvil Revisited (Edinburgh gin, amaro montenegro, lillet blanc, green chartreuse & fresh lime) is a delicious refresher. I didn't order one but I tasted one my friend ordered and it was something I'll definitely be ordering in the future.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

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

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #11 - June 8th, 2012, 5:27 pm
    Post #11 - June 8th, 2012, 5:27 pm Post #11 - June 8th, 2012, 5:27 pm
    Image
    Premise - 5420 N Clark St, Chicago

    My wife and I made our way to Premise earlier this week for a multi-leg session that included a round of cocktails in the downstairs bar, a few more rounds upstairs in The Salon and dinner back downstairs in the dining room.

    To start downstairs, I had a pour of the IFS house-select barrel of Elmer T. Lee bourbon, which is drinking very nicely right now. It's smooth and delivers notes of caramel and vanilla but it still has a restrained bite, which I appreciate. My wife had a Last Word, which Josh mixed up very nicely. It straddled the line nicely between sweet and tart, and I thought the use of Death's Door gin was a particularly good choice. Its botanicals work very well in this cocktail, especially with the chartreuse. After that round, the clock struck 6 and we headed upstairs to The Salon for a few more rounds from Luke Lefiles . . .

    Image
    Swizzle Variant
    I told Luke I was in the mood for rum and he spent the better part of our session playing around with several different flavor profiles. Here, he riffed off a Stamford Raffles very successfully.

    It's always tough to leave a bar you love when you're having a good time but man cannot live on cockails alone. We knew it was time for dinner. Happily, at Premise this is hardly a step down (though, it is downstairs). The smells coming out of the kitchen had been tempting us all night, which made going downstairs to have dinner easier than it might have otherwise been. Once seated, we were started off with this excellent bread service . . .

    Image
    Popover with Goat Cheese and Honey Butter
    I've now had this twice and it is fantastic. I really love the tangy-rich creamed goat cheese (conveniently painted on the plate) but nothing says excess like excess, so mixing it with the salty-sweet honey butter (not pictured) was especially delightful.

    Again, it was Wednesday night, so complimentary pairings were available with the 3-course tasting menu. However, we didn't exactly go in that direction. Instead, we ordered several dishes that I hadn't tried on my previous visits. We ended up ordering 6 a la carte courses to share (5 new to me) but the house comped our pairings nonetheless. That was very kind, especially because in some instances we got a couple different pairings, as Scott Noorman was working out some new pairings and wanted our take on his work. I'm always happy to be a guinea pig in the name of quality control. :D

    First up, a light and lovely amuse . . .

    Image
    Amuse | cold sorrel soup, Jonah crab, creme fraiche, pink peppercorn
    Pairing: Jean Vessell Brut Champagne

    Very intuitively, our 6 courses were coursed out for us 2 at a time . . .

    Round 1
    Image
    Spot Prawns | tapioca pearls, lime zest, coconut powder, thai basil, red curry, frothed ginger, micro cilantro, toasted coconut
    Pairing: 2011 Ameztoi, Getariako Txakolina, Rubentis, Spain
    First and foremost, the prawns here were cooked perfectly and reminded me of my recent trip to Charleston, SC. That's pretty much where the similarities ended, though. I loved the Asian flavors here. There was a nice bit of heat imparted into the tapioca pearls (a function of steeping them with chiles after they are cooked) and I thought the toasted coconut played almost like a coconut bacon. It went exceedingly well with the prawns.


    Image
    Fluke Tartare | uni sabayon, toasted nori, sea beans, wild rice, lotus root, dashi gel
    Pairing 1: 2009 Tatomer “Vandenberg” Dry Riesling, Santa Barbara County
    Pairing 2: NV Bodegas La Cigarrera Manzanilla Sherry, Palomino
    I loved this dish so much the last time, I had to have it again. It was just as wonderful this time around. Scott asked us for our opinion on which pairing worked better with the dish. I thought they were both well-chosen but preferred the sherry mainly because it married up very nicely with the nuttiness of the crispy wild rice.


    Round 2
    Image
    Fava Agnolotti | country ham, morel mushrooms, wood sorrel, ramp ragout
    Pairing: 2008 Julius Wasem & Söhne, Ingelheimer Sonnenhang Spätburgunder, Trocken
    I cannot say enough about how delicious this dish was. The agnolotti were stupendous, as were the other expertly rendered components on the plate. This was delectable Spring on a plate.


    Image
    Tempura Sweetbreads | black bean, micro shiso, bok choy, chow chow, xo sauce
    Pairing: 2006 Mastri Vinai Bressan Pinot Grigio Venezia Giulia IGT, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
    More often than not this course would be paired with a red but Scott felt that because of the mild funk of the sweetbreads and the stronger funk of the house-made xo sauce, this intense white would match up nicely. I think he really nailed it, as did chef. The dish was well-conceived and beautfully executed.


    Round 3
    Image
    Spring Lamb | fried chickpeas, miners lettuce, baby zucchini, sesame seed, Greek yogurt, green almonds
    Pairing: Semplicemente Vino Bellotti Rosso Biodinamico
    Another successful plate. I loved the accompaniments here almost as much as the perfectly cooked lamb. The fried chickpeas (also pickled?) and green almonds provided great flavor and textural contrast.


    Image
    Duck Breast | glazed turnip, dragon fruit, ruby mustard, borage flower
    Pairing: 2007 Domaine Catherine Le Goeuil Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne
    This is the one course that really didn't work for me. In spite of how well cooked it was, it was just a bit too sweet for my palate. However, I thought the wine was sensational...quite possibly my favorite of the evening.

    What followed next were all 3 desserts on the menu (and 2 more pairings), which the house very generously sent out for us. We were definitely too full to have ordered them for ourselves but it was great to get to try them all. In all 3 cases, there was a lot more than sweetness going on. Ingredients that one normally thinks of a savory were adeptly pushed toward sweet, as chef coaxed subtle sweet notes out of them. Other components were more brazenly savory, creating some fairly distinctive finishers . . .

    Image
    Walnut Financier | banana meringue, rum anglaise, lemon balm, maple sorbet
    Pairing: 2008 Chateau Haut Sarthes, Late-Harvest Semillon
    Great flavors here with, rightly so, the financier being the star.


    Image
    Carrot Cake | honey comb, fromage blanc, pea gelato, freeze-dried peas
    Pairing: 2008 Chateau Haut Sarthes, Late-Harvest Semillon
    Not exactly the peas and carrots we had to choke down as kids. :wink:


    Image
    Chocolate Torte | ancho crumble, horchata custard, chorizo espuma, cinnamon ice cream
    Pairing: Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth
    I loved the ancho and cinnamon in combination with the chocolate. This was my favorite of the 3, and the CAF pairing was terrific. I generally like my desserts a lot more straightforward than these but I really appreciated the skill, imagination, enthusiasm and effort that went into these compositions. OTOH, my wife absolutely loved them and was entirely thrilled with how not sweet they all were.

    I've been reading a little bit lately in other quarters about some pushback from A'Ville residents over Premise. It seems that there's some neighborhood unhappiness about it having replaced In Fine Spirits. I can understand the displeasure over losing a regular, ultra-casual spot so close to home but Premise aims so much higher than IFS ever did. It's now destination dining and it's still plenty casual, even though the cuisine is more elevated than what was served at IFS. Chef Runge and sous chef Ben Reaves are immensely talented individuals who, I believe, can legitimately put Andersonville on the fine-dining map through their work at Premise. It was a ballsy move by the owners to make such a substantial change and I really hope it pays off for them. There are some distinctive culinary voices at Premise and it's a very exciting place.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

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

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #12 - June 20th, 2012, 7:27 am
    Post #12 - June 20th, 2012, 7:27 am Post #12 - June 20th, 2012, 7:27 am
    Just wanted to chime in with a tiny added data point here. Spent an hour at the bar yesterday afternoon sampling various gins. Decided if I was going to drive home safely, I'd better get something in my tummy to soak up some of the alcohol and so went with the tempura sweetbreads that Ron illustrated above.

    Bad news first: today is the last day that they will appear on the menu, according to the kitchen.

    Good news: these are the best damn sweetbreads I've had in ages. I've become so accustomed to better-than-average but no better than that, that I've forgotten how truly extraordinary these can be in the right hands. And man oh man are these the right hands. I can't believe we moved out of this neighborhood only six months ago and now--bam! (as it were)--a terrific new place moves in. Just our luck.

    In any event, back to the sweetbreads: these are, as noted, tempura sweetbreads. And they are made by someone who really knows what he's doing. The batter is light, thin, crispy, and just about damn near perfect. Not a hint of oiliness. This is what tempura is all about. And the contrast between the crisp shell and the creamy sweetbreads is wonderful. The rest of the dish really shines as well: as you can see from Ron's pic, there's a puddle of XO sauce* as well as two leaves (stalks?) of bok choy, some home-made chow chow, and micro shiso (which I will confess was mostly lost in the tasting).

    If you are free today and even the least bit inclined, get thee hence. Me? I can't wait to get back down to Andersonville with the Lovely Dining Companion and have dinner here!



    * I was unfamiliar with this and have since learned that it owes its origins to Hong Kong, where XO comes from the expected source, eXtra Old cognac. But the sauce itself is a seafood sauce made up of (among other things), dried shrimp, dried scallops, chilis, onion, and garlic. As the ingredients suggest, it's salty and it's intense. And it's wonderful. It's become so popular that it is now made/bottled by major producers like Lee Kum Kee and others.)
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #13 - June 24th, 2012, 5:54 pm
    Post #13 - June 24th, 2012, 5:54 pm Post #13 - June 24th, 2012, 5:54 pm
    I stopped in at Premise the other night with a couple LTHers for some early evening, pre-Nha Hang Vietnam cocktails. We started downstairs, where Lee Anne (sp?) created a few really nice coctails for us, including a lovely, stirred Dealer's Choice made with Elmer T. Lee (ISF house-barrel) bourbon, Amaro Montenegro, Nux Alpina walnut liqueur, Jerry Thomas' Own Decanter Bitters and expressed orange oil. It was a great drink that resembled a sherry-aided cocktail but was much drier and right in my wheelhouse.

    While we were imbibing, Chef Runge, who's continually tweaking the menu to bring it in line with what's freshly available, brought out a debuting appetizer for us to try and provide feedback. It was tempura-fried squash blossoms, stuffed with a mixture of hominy and chorizo renderings, served atop a small salad of grilled corn and pickled serrano chiles. The blossoms were topped with Mexican-style crema. This was a fantastic dish. Every element of it had been well-conceived and very nicely executed. The blossoms were light and crispy. Their filling was rich and flavorful and the slightly acidic salad foiled them really well. Chef told us that by pickling the serranos, he could still impart some heat into the dish without it being overwhelming. It was a deft bit of cookery, to be sure. From what I understand, it is now on the menu and I look forward to going back and ordering it.

    After we settled up for our rounds downstairs, we headed upstairs, where we perched for about an hour on the balcony patio outside of The Salon. There, Luke dazzled us with a few of his signature cocktails, which were typically delicious. When we tried to pay, we were told that our tab had been taken care of by the house. Needless to say, we protested unsuccessfully, then tried to make up for their kindness with our tip. Food, drink and service, all come together at Premise. It's elevated but entirely approachable and is just one of those distinctive, special places that makes you want to return over and over.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

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

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #14 - July 16th, 2012, 11:45 am
    Post #14 - July 16th, 2012, 11:45 am Post #14 - July 16th, 2012, 11:45 am
    We had dinner at Premise on Saturday night. While I really liked the food, the service just wasn't up to par for what I think is trying to be a serious restaurant.

    We decided to go with the 5 course tasting menu since one of our dining companions was pregnant and we thought this would be the easiest menu to adjust. Our waiter was really no help in resolving the matter, offering only that substitutions would carry a $5 upcharge (in the end, they didn't actually charge us anything extra). Finally as a group we came up with a suggested change to the menu that would work for her, but our server could have been a bit more helpful by maybe checking with the kitchen and coming back with some suggestions.

    He also pulled the amateur hour move of overfilling our wine glasses to prematurely kill our bottle, but then didn't follow up with taking new drink orders. Talk about a lose-lose - no booze upcharge on our check and also everyone sat there drinking water through one of our courses.

    Finally at one point we had a very long gap between courses. The explanation was that the kitchen was slammed by a large party upstairs. Again, if they're going to be a serious restaurant they need to make the restaurant the top priority. But I don't know, maybe the locals have it figured out because at 8pm on a Saturday night we sat down in a dining room that was maybe 25% full.

    This is all a shame because the food was very good and nicely presented (the snapper carpaccio and king salmon in particular were outstanding). The food would definitely draw me back, but they've got to clean up the service issues if they're going to survive.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #15 - July 16th, 2012, 11:58 am
    Post #15 - July 16th, 2012, 11:58 am Post #15 - July 16th, 2012, 11:58 am
    jesteinf wrote:We had dinner at Premise on Saturday night. While I really liked the food, the service just wasn't up to par for what I think is trying to be a serious restaurant.

    We decided to go with the 5 course tasting menu since one of our dining companions was pregnant and we thought this would be the easiest menu to adjust. Our waiter was really no help in resolving the matter, offering only that substitutions would carry a $5 upcharge (in the end, they didn't actually charge us anything extra). Finally as a group we came up with a suggested change to the menu that would work for her, but our server could have been a bit more helpful by maybe checking with the kitchen and coming back with some suggestions.

    He also pulled the amateur hour move of overfilling our wine glasses to prematurely kill our bottle, but then didn't follow up with taking new drink orders. Talk about a lose-lose - no booze upcharge on our check and also everyone sat there drinking water through one of our courses.

    Finally at one point we had a very long gap between courses. The explanation was that the kitchen was slammed by a large party upstairs. Again, if they're going to be a serious restaurant they need to make the restaurant the top priority. But I don't know, maybe the locals have it figured out because at 8pm on a Saturday night we sat down in a dining room that was maybe 25% full.

    This is all a shame because the food was very good and nicely presented (the snapper carpaccio and king salmon in particular were outstanding). The food would definitely draw me back, but they've got to clean up the service issues if they're going to survive.


    Thanks for visiting Josh. Chef Runge's food is extraordinary. We promise to constantly tweak and improve our service, and any other things that we have to, to become the restaurant that we wish to be. All of your feedback is extremely helpful. We hope to see you again. Cheers!
  • Post #16 - August 22nd, 2012, 9:08 am
    Post #16 - August 22nd, 2012, 9:08 am Post #16 - August 22nd, 2012, 9:08 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote: While we were imbibing, Chef Runge, who's continually tweaking the menu to bring it in line with what's freshly available, brought out a debuting appetizer for us to try and provide feedback. It was tempura-fried squash blossoms, stuffed with a mixture of hominy and chorizo renderings, served atop a small salad of grilled corn and pickled serrano chiles. The blossoms were topped with Mexican-style crema. This was a fantastic dish. Every element of it had been well-conceived and very nicely executed. The blossoms were light and crispy. Their filling was rich and flavorful and the slightly acidic salad foiled them really well. Chef told us that by pickling the serranos, he could still impart some heat into the dish without it being overwhelming. It was a deft bit of cookery, to be sure. From what I understand, it is now on the menu and I look forward to going back and ordering it.

    Mr. X and I went to Premise recently to use our Blackboard Eats deal (3 appetizers plus a glass of cava.) The wine director was our server since there were so few diners in the main dining room. Despite a couple of minor missteps (no water to begin with, forgetting flatware), we appreciated his enthusiasm for the food and the cava he poured for us. After the amuse (the same sorrel soup as above), we asked to have the appetizers as courses. We started with the snapper carpaccio, followed by the compressed melon, and then squash blossom described by Ronnie. A week later, I'm still thinking of that squash blossom. So much flavor, so expertly prepared.

    I loved that when I asked if we could split another glass of cava, he poured us each a full glass. We were only charged for one extra glass. The Blackboard Eats deal was $20 for the app trio and Cava for each person. Our original bill reflected only one deal -- I insisted he charge us for both, even though he tried to wave me off. We already benefited from his generosity.

    I look forward to returning to experience a full meal. I'm hoping more diners find their way to Premise to enjoy the exciting food coming out of that kitchen. (As a side note, it was nice to see Ronnie and other LTHers supporting creations of the Salon!)
    -Mary
  • Post #17 - August 22nd, 2012, 10:23 am
    Post #17 - August 22nd, 2012, 10:23 am Post #17 - August 22nd, 2012, 10:23 am
    I returned for my second visit a couple weeks ago. I didn't find the food nearly as good as I did the first trip. I wasn't a huge fan of the lobster dish - there seemed to be a lot going on and I din't find all the flavors necessary/complimentary. My wife liked the pork belly and coffee dish. The service was great though.
  • Post #18 - August 29th, 2012, 10:27 am
    Post #18 - August 29th, 2012, 10:27 am Post #18 - August 29th, 2012, 10:27 am
    Amata wrote:Premise has closed, according to Mike Sula in the Reader:
    http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/ar ... tered#more


    jesteinf wrote:Can't say I'm surprised. The empty dining room on the weekend night that we went is never a good sign.


    I'm not surprised either, though I'm disappointed. The first reason I'm disappointed is because the original In Fine Spirits bar/restaurant was really good. Not perfect, by any meals. But a great addition to the neighborhood. The second reason I'm disappointed is because the team behind Premise seem really talented and it would have been great if they could have made this work better.

    My wife and I had drinks at Premise a couple of times. We always meant to eat there, especially after reading some of the posts above. But on beautiful summer evenings, the last place I wanted to be was in a dark dining room that reminded me of a typical trendy west loop spot. We had drinks upstairs recently. All of the shades were drawn, but it was a beautiful early evening and the sunlight peeked through the edges. Since we were the only ones upstairs, we joked that we should ask if we could open all of the windows! I got the same feeling from the dining room. To me, they were trying to create an atmosphere and it simply fell flat. I can't say that this was the cause of their problems, but it was the main factor that led me to keep putting off a visit.
    Last edited by Darren72 on August 30th, 2012, 7:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #19 - August 29th, 2012, 12:01 pm
    Post #19 - August 29th, 2012, 12:01 pm Post #19 - August 29th, 2012, 12:01 pm
    I'm really going to miss this place. As short-lived as it was, it had become a favorite and a regular destination for me. I had hopes they could plant a stake for fine-dining in a more northerly neighborhood but I guess it just wasn't a good fit. I do wish all the staff there -- both BOH and FOH -- the best in searching for new employment. What a talented and dedicated group of folks they are.

    So long, Premise. :(

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

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

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #20 - August 29th, 2012, 5:01 pm
    Post #20 - August 29th, 2012, 5:01 pm Post #20 - August 29th, 2012, 5:01 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I'm really going to miss this place. As short-lived as it was, it had become a favorite and a regular destination for me. I had hopes they could plant a stake for fine-dining in a more northerly neighborhood but I guess it just wasn't a good fit. I do wish all the staff there -- both BOH and FOH -- the best in searching for new employment. What a talented and dedicated group of folks they are.

    So long, Premise. :(

    =R=


    Hi Ronnie,
    We loved having you. The new venture with LM Restaurant group offered employment to all FOH and BOH staff who wished to pursue it. They would train in other locations now, while renovations were happening on Clark St. to be open for a mid-September opening.

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