What are Adam Seger’s favorite restaurants?
I’ll go from high-end to basic. Probably one of the best meals that I’ve had in the last couple of years was at Le Cinq at the Four Seasons in Paris. And it was interesting because it was a week that we had really indulged and hit multiple award-winning restaurants. That was the most distinct. On a technical level, the others were all flawless, but Le Cinq had a warm compassion from the staff that really, really set it apart. Obviously you’re going to expect the service, but to bring warmth in to make you feel comfortable and especially welcome, that just brings it to another wonderful level.
In Chicago, I had a great meal at Grace. That’s Curtis Duffy’s new restaurant; he was a chef at Avenues at The Peninsula. With Trotter’s closing, I think it’s going to go in its place as Chicago’s most-awarded restaurant. It’s just really, really amazing; every detail from just even the feel of the tablecloths and the menus to really beautiful inventive cuisine, pushing the boundaries enough but also not too over the top with molecular and whatnot. It’s just enough to be really interesting, but still stays true to the soul of the food. There’s a great wine program, as well. He’s got Michael Muser, who was sommelier with him at Avenues —extremely knowledgeable, well-chosen, well-priced and zero pretension.
Another place in Chicago that just opened that’s great is called The Monarch. The chef is Andrew Brochu. He’s an ex-Alinea guy. He was there for three years and then worked for Graham Elliot. It’s real interesting. It’s a very neighborhood Chicago bar but with extremely elevated, inventive bar food. It’s fun seeing Andrew keep his commitment to a completely from-scratch and very creative kitchen but doing it in a neighborhood bar environment where you can just go in and grab something at the bar or kind of create a tasting menu. It’s really, really outstanding. It’s in Wicker Park. You can get anything from foie gras with strawberry jam to a burger. He’s really well known for his chicken wings, and he does these ones with juice from housemade pickles. Just the combination between crispy and acid, it’s a kind of sophistication as far as flavor, heat, acid and texture you’d see in fine dining, but it’s dining with a chicken wing. So it’s a completely great bar snack but has as much sophistication as you would find in a Four-Star restaurant.
In New Orleans, I had a great meal the last time I was down there at Restaurant R’evolution. It’s Rick Tramonto and John Folse’s new place. It was kind of fun because I used to be general manager at Tru and I grew up in south Louisiana, so it was really interesting to see some elements of Rick’s playful, inventive picture with John Folse’s soulful and historically reverent Louisiana cooking. It’s a very fun combination and really exciting.