The folks at the Capital Grille have new competition! When you walk through the entrance of The Park Supper Club, a newly opened Chicago restaurant by culinary veterans MaryAnn and Reginal Marsh of M lounge, you can’t help marveling at the nostalgic black and white photos of jazz greats. You’ll also be able to listen to live music while admiring the Roaring Twenties inspired interior design. The long white curtains, velvet couches and polished wooden furniture create a processional that leads to an enlivening bar with just about any spirit you can imagine.
The atmosphere exudes Black American Excellence with a portal to an era of prosperity and dissipation, of jazz bands, raccoon coats, bathtub gin, flappers, flagpole sitters, bootleggers, and marathon dancers. The vibrant mental excursion is tempered by our current reality of masks, hand sanitizers, temperature checks, and vaccination cards, but I digress.
The stage looks like Duke Ellington and his Kentucky Club Orchestra are preparing to perform, but the headliner of your evening will be culinary, not musical compositions, orchestrated by Executive Chef Christopher Banks. True foodies with an appreciation for seasonal menus will appreciate the very intentional menu of Chef Banks.
With unpretentious yet sophisticated options, Chef Banks flavorfully and soulfully interprets genuine classics. Our dining experience began with his tender Smoked Chicken Wings ($12), which were infused with a robust smokiness and sweet undertow from an Ancho chili dry rub. The dish comes with a tasty BBQ sauce but they’re so good you can enjoy them just as they are!
We had three cocktails with our entrée; two from the menu, and one I challenged the bartender to create with one of my favorite spirit Hendricks gin! Each cocktail was well constructed and executed in a manner that would have made Tom Bullock (Famed Black mixologist and cocktail recipe creator! Look him up) proud!
The Hennessey Sidecar was a whimsical play on the classic drink served with Hennessy cognac blended with Grand Marnier, fresh lemon juice in a sugar-rimmed glass. The sugar pleasantly added an almost Arnold Palmer vibe to this classic cocktail. The other drink was a Raspberry Lemon Drop ($14), served with Citroen vodka, lemon juice & sugar mixed with raspberry liqueur and a touch of sour, also served in a sugar-rimmed glass.
When I take one of these beautiful Black Chicago queens out to dinner, I’m recommending this lady-like cocktail that packed a nice potent punch. Do not underestimate the drinks. The flavor fools you into thinking you are drinking lightly, only for that HAMMER to set in.
Next on the appetizer menu we had the Spice Herb Shrimp ($16) with ginger, hot garden chilis, herbs, and smoked tomato. The real star for this dish was the warm, soft, chewy, homemade grilled focaccia that became my personal shovel. I made a ritual of scooping up the savory spiced sauce until the bread resembled a soaked sponge that I topped with half of the colossal shrimp for an incredible bite! Yes, Lord!
Moving along, we ordered the Mesquite Smoked Grilled Salmon ($24) that was cooked to perfection. I did not get a mesquite flavor, but rather an incredible herbaceous taste that was awesome on a bed of garlic rice and parmesan grilled Brussels sprouts. The food is mature, purposed, and straightforward, like what you expect at a high end or fancy dinner party.
You will enjoy everything on this menu, but in many ways, it prepares you for the steak. Yes. The steak. Full disclosure, I am vegan three days a week, so when I do eat red meat, know that it is special. My favorite steak can be found at a very popular restaurant, Houston’s by the Hillstone Culinary Group where the Hawaiian is king of kings of steaks! The sweet-savory, fatty, marbled, and tender cut of meat marinated for 48 hours in a Polynesian forward in-house creation and grilled to a heavenly perfect medium.
Well, I am happy to share with you that I had a similar experience here. The Bone-in New York Strip ($34), served with an herb truffle butter with calabrese potatoes, wilted onion and spinach DID NOT COME TO PLAY. Chef Banks showed out here. The tender steak immediately excited the palate with its unique flavor.
This was no warm-up entrée. Instead, it dives in feet first and challenges every steak you’ve ever enjoyed. Its deliciousness and texture command your full attention and its perfectly paired with potatoes that are also uniquely delicious.
The Park Supper Club has arrived and is making a major contribution to one of the most expansive culinary scenes in the United States. The menu provides access to a gastronomic reception that usually costs twice as much. This 21st Century Cotton Club has created a fun, intelligent, and mature dining experience.
The atmosphere is supported by a respectable dress code that is casual enough for comfort while preserving the restaurant’s sophistication. It’s perfect for romantic dates, marriage proposals and celebrating a friend’s promotion.
I had an incredible experience and look forward to many more. You can reach them at (312) 337-9400 for reservations.