Maple & Ash: IDGAF
A couple weeks back I was fortunate enough to visit Maple & Ash and check out their tasting menu. I’m going to lead the post with my final opinion on the dining experience at M&A. It is FANTASTIC!!! If you’re on the fence about going, just do it! If you’re not sure about the price tag, trust me it is worth it! I’ll walk you through everything I ate, but know you can also get these items as stand a la carte off the dinner menu. But first…a little bit about the establishment:
Maple & Ash
Maple & Ash, located in Gold Coast, is an upscale steakhouse & seafood restaurant with a premiere wine list and cocktail list. They are know for their dinner but have also recently expanded to a Sunday brunch experience. Led by Danny Grant, a two-Michelin-star chef, the menu is crafted to perfection with a variety of delicious dishes to choose from. Back in 2018, the M&A group opened up another restaurant - Etta - in the Bucktown area. I’ve been able to check it out, and this is a great spot to find some of chef Grant’s favorite dishes that aren’t showcased at M&A.
The tasting menu goes by the name of “I Don’t Give a F*ck” on their menu, and I’m promising you that you won’t give any either once you let the kitchen take over & take care of you. Our waiter was very attentive and we also had a sommelier that walked us through each of the wine pairings.
To start, we were welcomed with a cocktail. A refreshing mix of Sneaky Fox vodka, lemon, elder flower & bitters. I’m not big on elder flower in drink as it is normally overpowering; however, this cocktail was excellently crafted. Meanwhile, the first “course”, we had a taste of salted English radish with whipped butter and smashed cucumber. Very simple ingredients that were brought together for a delicious food kick-off. Up next was the “Blackout vodka” with oysters and caviar. This was my fist time trying an oyster and though I think the texture might take some getting used to, I can assure you that the flavors were on point! Vodka and I on the other hand are not friends, but I pushed through and moved onto the next round.
In what we’ll call “course two”, things heated up with an epic seafood tower. What you can expect to get: oysters, muscles, crab, shrimp and lobster all cooked in a white wine sauce that is out of the world. A bit tangy, very savory & light; we were ready to drink it up after we got through the seafood. BUT because M&A knows how good the sauce is they don’t let it go to waste. Our waiter reappeared at just the right time with house-made pasta that was added into dish to eat with the sauce.
After we got through the amazing pasta, the table filled once again with a wedge salad (feat. bacon and an onion ring!!) and lamb ‘lollipops’. It was at this point that I started to feel a little bit full, but I’m dedicated to the food journey and was glad I fought through to the grand finale of sorts.
“Course four” was a jaw dropping amalgamation of steak, scallops, asparagus, mashed potatoes, salmon with turnips and apples, & ‘pillow of love’ pasta. Each dish I tasted was better than the last and when I’d make my way back through the circuit I was bewilders how so much could be prepared so wonderfully!
Now please keep in mind that throughout this meal we had already consumed one cocktail and three glasses of wine. It was then and there that I wished to be rolled home to my bed… but WAIT! THERE WAS MORE! The night was closed out by a lovely dessert wine and ice cream Sunday cart. Now you might think that ice cream sundays after all that other food sound anti-climatic. Haha jokes! This is the most beautiful and extensive set of spreads I have ever seen produced for two people. There was hot chocolate sauce, peanut butter sauce, mini merengues, caramel / peanut brittle, sprinkles and more!
Best Wine - Chicago
As much as I love a good glass of red wine, I am not the person you should probably trust to make your wine pairings. Good thing there was a sommelier on deck to take the lead!! He thoughtfully pick wines based off our preferences and the dishes to complete the tasting menu experience. Wondering if it’s really worth it to check out the wine scene? I’ll leave you with 2 things: 1) M&A has been recognized as one of the most outstanding wine lists in the world and 2) do a google search on the the types of wines you can expect to taste (labels below), to see for yourself
I absolutely loved my time at Maple & Ash and strongly recommend it to everyone who is into fine dining experiences. This isn’t a spot you’ll be going every month, but should definitely hit to the top of your list for a formal business dinner, holiday, or special life event.