Perhaps the most aptly named restaurant in the city, Grace is one of Chicago’s most Zen — and luxurious, and delicious, and memorable — fine-dining experiences. Opened in late 2012 in the West Loop, Grace is the first restaurant helmed by star chef Curtis Duffy, whose prior accolades include stints at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Alinea and Five-Star Peninsula Chicago’s now-shuttered Avenues.
A modest dining room that seats only 64 guests, Grace has the look and feel of an elegant spa: soft lighting, minimal décor and earthy undertones. Even the four elegant washrooms reflect each of the four seasons, with varying aesthetic and materials. From the moment you step off the busy walkway and into the serene host area, the Grace experience is cool, calm and collected. You are ushered into a minimalist reception area, then escorted to the dining room whose brown hues and soft leather armchairs underscore an air of comfort. There’s a clear view of the stark white kitchen toward the far end of the room, and booths tucked into blonde wood nooks line the walls.
Grace offers two multicourse chef’s tasting menus to choose from: Flora, which focuses on vegetables but also includes some meats, and Fauna, with its heavier emphasis on meats. In contrast to the serenely simple mood in the room, the plates at the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant are spectacularly colorful and quixotic. There’s an emphasis on multiple textures and flavors in a single bite, keeping taste buds guessing from course to course. Expert wine pairings parallel the food and are highly recommended to enhance the meal even further.