Dining Chicago

'Tis the Season for Opulence

'Tis the season for opulence, wherein chefs fling white truffle shavings at food like rich lotharios throwing money at a stripper. One of the most lavish ingredients available, white truffles always add sparkle and pizzaz to anything they deem worthy of touching, be it pizza or... doughnuts. Here are some fancified dishes to sink your teeth into this season.

White truffle doughnut
(White truffle doughnut in action at Do-Rite Donuts)

For those with money to burn and no people they care to spend holiday money on, then the $99 pizza at Balena is the perfect solution. This limited edition creation features an amalgam of Perigord black truffles, truffled mortadella and leek crema, shaved jamon Iberico de Belota, and Alba white truffles. Black AND white truffles? It's like a black and white cookie, but substantially more expensive. The white truffles are shaved onto the pizza tableside, because they're all about the pomp and circumstance those truffles. The bedazzled pie is the handiwork of executive chef Chris Pandel and Rodrick Markus of Rare Tea Cellar, purveyor of all things wonderful. It's only available until white truffles run out, so hurry. Pair it with a $35 glass of Italian Barolo, because ya know, money is better spent on wine than rent.

Pizzas I can get, but white truffle doughnuts are a whole new thing. And I'm scared. Although it's much less expensive than the rich-person pizza, the $20 white truffle doughnut at Do-Rite Donuts is likely steeper than any pastry you've ever paid for. Worth it? Read on and decide for yourself. It's a yeast-risen doughnut glazed with truffle syrup, flecked with fleur de sel, and adorned with Valrhona chocolate shavings and three grams of white truffles shaved-to-order. Because nothing satisfies your morning sweet tooth like shaved-to-order opulence. Again, they're only available while these precious commodities are in season.

Things are a little more down-to-earth at Vie, where the locally inspired restaurant makes international allowances for Piedmontese white truffles but once a year. The fanciful beauties are treated simply, shaved over top parsnio-Parmesan puree with milk jam anglaise, and parsnip chips.

Neighborhoods: Western SuburbanLincoln ParkChicago Loop

A destination spot in Western Springs for finely crafted American cuisine with an emphasis on locally grown ingredients, Vie is owned by acclaimed chef Paul Virant.

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Boka Restaurant Group teams up with the guys behind The Bristol for this rustic, Italian-focused restaurant. Bristol's top chef Chris Pandel acts as top toque here as well.

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