2006 "Check, Please!" Benefit

May 29 2006 - 2:05 PM

Check_please_appAlmost everyone in Chicago either watches,
has heard of, or has dined at one of the many restaurants featured on
the PBS program “Check, Please!”  As a fan of the show, I jumped at the
chance to attend the annual “Check, Please!” fundraising benefit at the
WTTW studios.  The benefit featured 30 different low to mid-end
restaurants located jumpers for sale in the city and surrounding suburbs, as well as
local entertainment, raffle prizes (like a spot on the show) and silent
auction.  The event was great and I thought a real treat that it was
held at the studio so that you could wine and dine within the sound
stages where “Check, Please!” and other PBS shows are filmed.

The evening started off in the VIP lounge where 10 restaurants tempted
guests with signature cocktails and Jazz vocals by Kurt Elling.  Some
of the more unique concoctions worth mentioning all fall within the
martini category and include an organic lemon and ginger infused
martini by uncommon ground, the “Spring Fling” Absolute Kurant,
lemon-grass green tea and cranberry juice martini by the Kit Kat Lounge
and Supper Club.  And then my favorite, presented by The Dining Room at
Kendall College, an Asian inspired martini with cucumber puree and Yuzu
syrup and soy Vodka with an Edemame and pickled ginger garnish.

After all that drinking it was time to head to the main dining area
where there was an unbelievable amount of great, good, and not so good
signature foods to sample.  I’ll just stick with some of the great,
standout dishes of the night from restaurants I’d check out at a later
date for more.  Blu 47, serving American cuisine with a southern style,
featured a hearty and surely addicting white chicken chili that just
oozed with Monterey Jack cheese.  Miramar Bistro is a French-Cuban
combination that served simple yet irresistible oysters Rockefeller.
Red Light on tobogã inflavel Randolph prepares dishes with a pan-Asian theme and served
a succulent, fall-off the bone 5-spice rib, and completely ran out of
the dish by 8:30PM.  The Speakeasy Supper Club that rotates a seasonal,
global menu introduced their Ducktini, a fresh and tasty appetizer with
chunks of duck breast, avocado puree, olives and greens.

The one restaurant that stood out to me that night was The Dining Room
at Kendall College.  Not only did they prepare a unique signature drink
for the VIP room but their main entrée really showed character and
thought.  While some of the not mentioned restaurants took the easy way
out by serving cold pizza slices or hummus and pita, Kendall served up
a soft and expertly seasoned braised short rib with a watermelon slaw
and chickpea salad.  It was truly the highlight of the evening and
peaked my curiosity to try more.