Andersonville's Elixir Launches Dinner Service with an Exciting Chef's Table

December opened with a Chef’s Table event at Elixir Lounge in Andersonville showcasing the culinary talents of Chefs Bernardo Ibarra (Girl & the Goat) and Steve Farbstein (The Bristol, Luxbar) and the cocktail creations of Master Mixologist Vlad Novikov. It was an enticing event that introduced the new lounge to a packed house in the intimate, elegant space. Guests were treated to a tasting of perfectly matched courses and cocktails, giving them a glimpse into the menu that launched this month.

I was introduced to this gem at a pairing dinner they hosted with Angel’s Envy. I was so impressed by the creativity and the quality of both the cuisine and the cocktails that I immediately suggested they host one of our Chef’s Table events. This restaurant needed to be shared!

What’s amazing is that they didn’t even start serving food in Elixir until this past weekend. While their sibling Replay Beer & Bourbon has garnered extensive praise for its brunch, the lounge itself focused on refining its impressive cocktail program and limited the cooking to special events. Fortunately for foodies, Elixir now serves dinner seven nights a week.

The event itself featured five courses, each paired with a cocktail. The pairings were complementary, suiting each course perfectly, but also tasty enough to stand on their own. The opening cocktail was a Dry Elderflower Spritz made with St. Germain, sparkling soda, and lemon. This easily could have been cloyingly sweet, but instead it was crisp and refreshing, with just the right amount of St. Germain. It was a hint at the care Vlad takes to mix his libations so that they’re perfectly balanced, which would be evidenced throughout the evening.

The cocktail accompanied the first course of Shrimp Ceviche, a piquant combination of shrimp, bell pepper, avocado, cucumber, seaweed salad, and wasabi tobiko. This ceviche was considered by many to be the best dish of the evening – and that’s saying something! The flavors were layered and distinct, providing a fresh and light start to the multi-course dinner.

Chef Steve created this beautiful Steak Tartare for a guest who had a shrimp allergy. If the shrimp ceviche hadn’t been so good more people may have suddenly developed an allergy as well!

The second course was a soup that was the perfect way to warm up from head to toe. Made with winter squash, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and topped with toasted pumpkin seeds, it was a rich, luscious dish that felt just like winter comfort food should. It was paired with a Presbyterian, Vlad’s twist on a Moscow Mule, made with Larceny bourbon, ginger beer, and soda.

The third course highlighted their housemade pasta, a specialty that’s now featured on the menu. This preparation included multiple mushrooms. While this particular preparation isn’t available, when you dine at Elixir you’ll have options that include fettucini with shrimp and octopus, pappardelle bolognese, and sweet potato ravioli. This creamy dish was paired with a Sherry Cobbler, a cocktail made with Lastau Amantillado Sherry, pomegranate, orange, apple, and lemon and reminiscent of sangria. It’s a pairing I never would have considered, but Vlad definitely knows what he’s doing.

The next cocktail was a Piedmont Manhattan. This unique variation featured Bitter Queens Tobacco Bitters instead of just plain bitters. Smoky and savory, it was a perfect accompaniment to the short rib.

Lucky you – this red wine braised short rib, as tasty as it is beautiful, is featured on the new menu! Topped with crispy shallots and served on a bed of sweet potato puree, it’s fork-tender and filled with flavor.

The final course was almost like two desserts. The cocktail, simply called “Milk,” was made with El Dorado 5 year rum, Xoloti Almond liqueur, cream, nutmeg, cinnamon, and star anise.

The creamy cocktail was paired with chocolate bread pudding with caramel, chocolate sauce, and ice cream – the perfect end to a complex and delicious dinner.

The service throughout the dinner was impeccable, and the entire experience was a delightful introduction to what I hope will become a mainstay in Chicago’s dining scene. Several guests mentioned that this is not just an Andersonville restaurant – it’s a destination.

Elixir is located at 1509 W Balmoral Ave and is open for dinner at 5pm seven days a week. 






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