Now that the dust has settled after our first hard hat tour of South Loop hotspot Acadia, chef/owner Ryan McCaskey is ready to unveil his restaurant to the world—and it’s stunning. This isn’t just because of the sophisticated interior by KI Design or McCaskey’s elegant menu with opulent ingredients like foie gras, Wagyu beef, and lobster. Polished touches are expected from a fine dining chef who once helmed the kitchen of Michelin-rated restaurant Courtright’s. It’s mostly impressive because all of these elements coexist in the South Loop.
While some might consider opening in the mostly vacated neighborhood to be a somewhat ambitious move, McCaskey seems to have picked excellent timing. As we noted before, the restaurant will soon boast some of the most spectacular city views with a new city park being built across the street. Alderman Fioretti has made it a personal goal to resurrect the nearby “Music Row” of South Michigan Avenue. As new businesses trickle into the South Wabash strip, having a fine dining destination may give the area the momentum it needs to encourage other trendy concepts to take notice. For those laughing at the idea, just keep in mind what the meat packing district of Fulton Market and Randolph Street looked like only two years ago before restaurateurs scrambled to buy up every last square foot.
And when you take a look at our slideshow, you’ll see what we mean. The creamy white chairs backed by plush brown banquettes and warm grey backdrop suggests the type of chic luxury that would be found in the upscale Gold Coast or Lincoln Park restaurants. If you can resist drooling over McCaskey’s delicate plating of his beet salad with frisee, ocumare, fennel, arugula, and orange, you’re a much stronger person than the rest of us. Acadia opens for dinner tomorrow at 5 p.m., with reservations available through Open Table or by calling 312-360-9500.
Acadia, 1639 South Wabash Avenue; 312-360-9500
Correction: McCaskey was not part of Courtright’s when it had received its Michelin rating this year (Michelin had not entered the Chicago circuit until 2010).