Virgin Hotels Chicago (203 N. Wabash) has revamped its second-floor space and has added full-service dinner at Commons Club. This new open kitchen concept, headed by Executive Chef Moosah Reaume, offers diners an inventive take on contemporary American cuisine.
Chef Moosah fuses his Thai and French upbringing with a keen eye towards clean, seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms and purveyors. He layers bold flavors such as fish sauce, chilis, aromatic herbs and citrus into dishes that highlight various cultural influences without ever becoming “too busy” or “too complex.” Chef Moosah began his cooking career at the young age of 13 and has been drawn to the kitchen ever since. Since moving to Chicago in 2010, Chef has quickly made his mark on the culinary scene working up the ranks at many of the city’s most renowned hotels. Prior to joining the Virgin Hotels Chicago, Chef Moosah led culinary programs at Public Hotel Chicago under the direction of Jean-Georges, Soho House, and most recently at the Peninsula Hotel Chicago.
“As a chef, I love playing with bold ingredients to create unexpected combinations that surprise diners in the best possible way,” said Moosah Reaume, Executive Chef, Virgin Hotels Chicago. “Guests can expect a menu of cultural flavors represented in Contemporary American dishes. I look forward to treating diners to a delicious and unforgettable experience.”
On a recent visit, my guest and I sampled a wide array of dishes from the new menu. Everything, no matter how many ingredients, never felt overly complex. The flavors are generally well-layered in such a way that you taste everything separately, yet still have the experience of synergy as they merge.
Some of the standout items included intriguing items such as:
- Scallop Crudo – thinly sliced scallop with tomato fire water and green mango. This is perfect appetizer to share, or for a solo diner a great starter for a meal of small plates.
- Squash Fritti – a surprisingly simple yet excellent preparation of lightly-fried squash with preserved lemon aioli.
- Fall Fruit Salad – celery, walnuts, currants, fresh tarragon, and bleu cheese.
- Carrots – another dish that looked simple yet tasted complex and layered, served with smoked yogurt, cracked wheat, and white balsamic.
- Cavatelli – along with a wonderful combination of chile crab, smoked tomato sauce, and parmesan.
- Chicken – herb stuffed with parmesan jus. Again, simple yet somehow elevated at the same time.
- Lamb Chops – two perfectly-prepared chops served alongside cauliflower romesco, cous cous, and a unique mint preparation (not “traditional” jelly) that will make you set aside any desire for mint jelly in the future.
Commons Club also has a superior beverage program that highlights many eco-friendly, naturally and locally produced spirits and beers. Their mixologists have a flair for classic cocktails, but have also concocted some unique riffs on those classics. For wine lovers, Commons Club features a select wine-by-the-glass program with offerings of well-known producers and varietals, as well as more esoteric selections that are highlighted in the Club of 13, which features an array of 13 “uncommon wines at uncommon prices” which rotate weekly, in tune with Chef’s seasonal menu changes.
Commons Club is open for dinner and cocktails seven days a week. Located at 203 N. Wabash inside Virgin Hotels Chicago. For reservations guests should visit commonsclub.com or dial 312.940.4747. For more information, visit, commonsclub.com. You can also follow Commons Club on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at @commonsclubchi