Now that the 80-degree-days have finally ended, Chicagoans are swapping out their summer wardrobes for winter coats, and restaurants are trading out patio menus for autumnal flavors and cold-weather dishes.
We know what you're thinking. Apple dishes for fall... groundbreaking. But with swimsuit season safely behind us and so many new dishes hitting the dining scene, it's the best time to try out the city's newest, seasonal dishes. Here are some of the highlights from fall menus across Chicago:
Chicken Katsu Udon Bowls from Urbanbelly
Warm-up with Chef Bill Kim's specialty Chicken Katsu Udon Bowl ($13) featuring breaded chicken over a bowl of thick noodles at urbanbelly. If you're looking for more heat, try the Ramen ($13) with braised pork, mushrooms and a soft boiled egg. Not up for the brisk Chicago weather? Order delivery through Caviar for a delivered meal.
Bagel Bites from Steingold’s
Ditch the detox foods and make room for Steingold's new Fried bagel bites. Steingold’s classic bagels are cut into 8ths, fried, and served warm with dip. Try the savory version served with pimento cheese dip as a mid-afternoon snack or top off your meal with the cinnamon-dusted sweet versions accompanied by a side of homemade applesauce.
Grilled Cheese from Half Acre Tap Room at Balmoral
Pair your beer with a grilled cheese. The fall air is crisp and apples are sweet and tangy. Check out the newly launched the savory/sweet combo Fall Grilled Cheese at Half Acre's taproom at Balmoral for weekend brunch or dinner.
Salted Plums at Smyth
For true seasonal-inspired dining, the prix-fixe menu experiences at Smyth change not only seasonally but often subtle changes are made daily. In preparation of the inevitable winter, Chef John Shields created a dish with Salted Plums and preserved herbs that resemble the fall leaves. Chef Shield's features new creations throughout his Instagram, including a Steamed King Crab dish dipped in beeswax and chilled.
Chili Pear Pork Loin at Commons Club
Elevate your dinner in the Loop with Common Club’s new fall menu. Head to the second floor of the Virgin Hotels Chicago for Chef Moosah’s new Pork Loin ($31) featuring stone ground grits, pear chili glaze, parsnip puree. The dish builds in fall flavors without hitting you over the head with them - no pumpkin spice where it doesn’t need to be here!
Kale Salad from The Smith
River North's new addition, The Smith, features a Kale & Quinoa Salad during lunch to fill your fall-cravings but not have you falling asleep at your desk back at work. The salad is a balance of sun-dried cranberries, toasted almonds, and dijon vinaigrette mixed in a bed of ricotta salata ($16) with the option to add grilled chicken ($3). For dinner, opt for the warm Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese salad topped with apples and spiced pepitas with apple cider vinaigrette ($13).
Sticky Pear Cake a la Mode at The Dearborn
Executive Pastry Chef Julianna Westgor has done it again with her homemade apple cider donuts and sticky pear cake. Try the apple cider donuts with whiskey ice cream or the sticky pear cake with toasted almond ice cream for the perfect hit of sweet.
Wild Mushrooms from Bar Biscay
The Wild Mushrooms ($19) at Bar Biscay are worth a trip to the West Town neighborhood Spanish brasserie. Fresh mushrooms are sautéed with butter and sherry-jus, then topped with a soft poached egg. The shareable dish is comforting for those chilly fall nights. Stop in on Halloween night for a $4 draft pints of Orkenoy and smooth grooves from Fins-Up DJs.
Cider Donuts from Stan’s Donuts & Coffee
Don’t have time to get out of town to pick apples but still craving apple cider donuts? Drop by Stan’s throughout the fall to try one of their apple cider donuts ($3).
Ricotta Dumplings from Funkenhausen
Fall is comfort food season and Funkenhausen Chef Mark Steuer blends recipes from his German heritage and Southern upbringing that is the definition of comfort. The Ricotta Dumplings ($25)- haus kielbasa, cauliflower gooseberry, oyster mushrooms, rosemary vinaigrette, and ricotta salata - make grandma proud. Don't skip on the Sauerkraut ($6), which is Oma Steuer's recipe.
White Truffles and Grits from Temporis
Chef Troy Jorge of Temporis is taking advantage of the season's ingredients by shaving white truffles tableside over the White Grits with mushroom stock, port gel, egg yolk puree, and poached quail egg. The 11-course tasting menu ($155) is inspired by what is growing in the restaurant's hydroponic garden along with the current season. For dessert, Chef Troy uses in season honey crisp apples for a Milk & Dark Chocolate Ganache. As a no-waste initiative, the apple skins are used to make the dessert sauce.