Sixteen’s Culinary Exploration of Chicago


Chicago’s storied past, influential moments in history, and culinary titans have made a lasting impression in kitchens and on plates throughout the city. Rife with historic events and trends to explore, Sixteen – the Michelin Two-Star, Forbes’ Five-Star restaurant at Trump International Hotel & Tower® Chicago – continues its culinary journey through the seasons with the debut of a winter menu. The first menu update for the restaurant after receiving an upgraded designation from the 2014 Michelin Guide, it showcases the modern American cuisine of Executive Chef Thomas Lents.

After a year-long series of menus celebrating the best of seasonal offerings, Chef Lents has turned his focus to the story of the city surrounding the stunning, downtown Chicago restaurant. Sixteen’s winter menu presents a culinary exploration of Chicago’s birth, growth, and golden age. With a menu organized around the ubiquitous map of the Chicago Transit Authority’s L system, diners will join Chef Lents and the expert team at Sixteen for an expedition through Chicago’s history.

The meal commences with a Ferris Wheel filled with snacks that pay homage to items served at the Columbian Exposition’s Midway, where the circular ride made its notable debut. The journey continues with a reflection on the Native American’s connection to the city’s first settlers, with dishes featuring a pemmican of venison, the trinity of squash, corn, and beans grown together in the Three Sisters agriculture technique taught to colonizers, and an interpretation of the famed “stinking onion” for which the name Chicago is derived.

Turning to the significant transportation innovations and connections that put Chicago on the map, subsequent courses will look at the impact of railroads, canals, and waterways. The invention of refrigerated rail cars – carrying meat from the heartland to the East Coast – is recalled with a dish of beef tartar and oysters served on ice.  The canals connecting the city to the Mississippi River are honored with a course featuring eels, a product introduced to the region through the linkage. Lastly, the reversal of the flow of the Chicago River is signified with a dish of pike prepared in a vacuum cooker with carrot consommé, an illustration of the backwards flow of liquid.

The symbols on the Chicago flag, with three stripes representing the North, South, and West sides of the city, are highlighted with courses signifying immigration to these neighborhoods and celebrating the traditional cuisine of Western European, Eastern European, African and Hispanic communities. An examination of the struggles and significant turning points in the city’s history includes an interpretation of the Ploughman’s lunch to signify the Haymarket Riots; a grilled beef heart that reflects on Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle; and roasted venison, served tableside and pulled from the ashes, to mark The Great Chicago Fire.

Additional courses will connect the leading schools of architecture established and represented in Chicago to significant chefs and cooking styles that have taken root in the city. These courses include an exploration of Daniel Burnham’s Classicism, Frank Lloyd Wright’s departure from tradition and focus on Naturalism, and Mies Van Der Rohe’s Modernism, creating a culinary interpretation of the architecture surrounding the dinning room’s River North locale.

The menu culminates with dessert courses that celebrate the Century of Progress International Exposition held in 1933, with interpretations of the candy and confections created and made famous in Chicago.

A ten-course tasting menu, $150 per person, and a 20-course tasting menu, $210 per person, is being offered. A prix fixe menu for $105 and a la carte options are also available. Dinner is served at Sixteen nightly from 5:30 to 10:00 p.m. To view menus or to make reservations, please visit the restaurant online or call (312) 588-8030.

Via Sixteen Press Release