The Carbide & Carbon building—former home of the Hard Rock Hotel, Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz's Angels & Kings bar and, most recently, the St. Jane Hotel—is welcoming some new residents this week, as the Pendry Chicago hotel officially opens its doors in the iconic Michigan Avenue building on Wednesday, May 26. Joining the first Midwest outpost of the West Coast-based hotel brand is a new French brasserie and Champagne bar, helmed by Chicago's youngest Michelin-starred chef.
Also opening on May 26, Venteux takes over the warm, wood-paneled space formerly occupied by Free Rein that's adjacent to the Carbide & Carbon Building's Michigan Avenue lobby. A veteran of Chicago fine-dining institution Temporis, Donald Young (who earned his first Michelin star at the age of 28) serves as the new restaurant's executive chef, building on 11 years of experience working in French kitchens. A café with 40-foot windows that looks out on Michigan Avenue will offer breakfast and lunch throughout the week, but it's the luxurious dinner menu that's the real highlight of this new concept.
Presenting a selection of traditional French dishes with some contemporary twists, the Venteux menu includes plenty of things you'd expect to find at a brasserie, including steak frites served with bearnaise sauce and French onion soup coated in a layer of melted gruyere cheese. After ordering some oysters or caviar, you might move on to some of the more intriguing items on offer, such as a dish called Eggs Five Ways—an omelette filled with lightly-scrambled eggs and and Delice de Bourgeon cheese, topped with trout roe, a yeasted hollandaise and grated salt-cured egg yolk. There's also a whole roasted duck that looks like enough food for two (or more!) diners to share, accompanied by orange marmalade, pickled vegetables, seasonal garnishes and scallion crepes.
If you're having a drink with dinner, Venteux boasts a long wine list, draft beer and a well-stocked bar. But the cocktail menu seems to be tailored to more adventurous drinkers, with concoctions like Spill the Tea—a tequila and mezcal margarita riff made with a Mallorca Melon blend from Rare Tea Cellar—and "Welcome to Chicago," which tones down the jarring flavors of the infamous local liquor Malört with pamplemousse liqueur, Lillet Blanc, lemon and Prosecco.
When it opens its doors at 224 N Michigan Avenue tomorrow, Venteux will be open for breakfast and lunch from 7am to 3pm and for dinner from 4 to 10pm daily, with a happy hour from 4 to 6pm on weekdays. Visit the Verteux website to make a reservation and explore the menu. Bon appétit!