What a long, strange trip it has been for Tribute, the restaurant in the South Loop’s Essex Inn which is set to officially open tonight. We first heard about the project back in February, when Brandon Baltzley was named the executive chef after a brief stint at Mado. But by May Baltzley was gone, due to a much publicized problem with drug addiction. He was quickly replaced by Lawrence Letrero, who had formerly worked at Karyn’s On Green and Perennial. Finally, after a few more delays, Tribute is finally ready for the public, as it officially opens tonight. We were able to take a look around the massive space and also snag a copy of the opening day menu.
Indeed, the space is huge. Thanks to a wall of tall glass windows, natural light floods the interior. The design is also stripped down and minimalist, with a collection of low seating couches in the lounge area. We were also impressed with the series of light fixtures, which are completely covered in film of Alice in Wonderland.
The menu makes good on its promise to be a “classic American restaurant with a modern culinary edge.” We were able to sample a beet salad with smoked trout, pork belly with sweet potato, and a strip steak (pictured above) served with fresh giardiniera. Check out the full menu below, and then take a look around the space with our slideshow.
Tribute Dinner Menu [PDF]
Tribute, 800 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605; 407-963-0242