A lot of people like to moan and groan about hot weather every year in Chicago, as if it’s something new that doesn’t happen routinely every year at the same time. However, there’s lots of things that make the heat and humidity not only worthwhile, but something to look forward to in Chicago. For instance, ice-cold cocktails and strawberry shortcake, among numerous others. Here are six reasons why we’re cool with hot weather.
Wood-grilled lobster Thermidor at Swift & Sons: This being the season of grilling, cravings tend to fall in the category of BBQ, burgers, hot dogs and other grilled delicacies. But Swift & Sons has one of the most interesting (and addictively delicious) grilled dishes in town for the summer. That’s the wood-grilled lobster Thermidor, a neoteric, fresh take on the classic French indulgence. Here, this typically hearty dish gets lightened up with fresh king trumpet mushrooms and a zesty citrus butter. The lobster is grilled over wood, imbuing a pleasant aroma, before it’s all presented colorfully and with plenty of flourish.
Lobster Cobb at Tavern on Rush: Swift & Sons isn’t the only place with a habit-forming summery take on lobster. There’s a lot to love about Tavern on Rush all year round. The expansive menu has a little bit of something for everyone, from steaks of all sizes to pizzas, seafoods, salads, brunch and lots more. But one of the sleeper hits on the menu just happens to be a real treat in the warmer months, as patrons pack the expansive patio. Look under the housemade soups and salads section, which has numerous variations of seasonal vegetables and heartier takes on mixed greens. Along with other staples like the Azteca salad and the iceberg wedge, the lobster Cobb is a real show-stopper, made with crumbled bleu cheese, avocado, mushroom, bacon, tomato, hard-boiled egg, cucumber and of course, plump morsels of lobster.
Strawberry shortcake Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse: Beach body season be damned! For dessert fans, this is your time to shine, as one of Gibsons most beloved confections is in the spotlight. Save room for the end of the meal, because you’re going to want a plate of strawberry shortcake. There’s actually nothing “short” about this colossal cake, laden with whipped cream, cake and bright berries. The sheer amount of fruit helps you feel relatively healthy, even though they’re strewn over enough pastry to feed a sugar-loving family.
Sushi at Mastro’s Steakhouse: Let’s be honest, there’s really no wrong time of year to feast on sushi. But during the height of summer, there really isn’t anything more satisfying and soothing than a platter brimming with maki rolls at Mastro’s Steakhouse. One of the few steakhouses to actually feature a full-fledged sushi program, this stuff is legit. Try the tempura fried asparagus rolls with fresh squeezed key lime juice for the ultimate summer refresher, and don’t miss the Maguro Lime Roll stuffed with big-eye tuna, fresh avocado, ponzu sauce and curry oil.
Cocktails at STK: This sexy steakhouse knows a thing or two about mixology, and you can rest assured their seasonal creations will be delicious any time of year. But it’s their summertime offerings that really shine the brightest. On deck for this year is a rosé-infused tipple called the Summertime Fling, outfitted with rum, St-Germain, cranberry and sparkling wine. The Strawberry Cobbler is another nice one, made with Belvedere vodka, fresh muddled strawberries and graham cracker around the rim. For those who like it on the spicier side, the Ginger Mojito packs a bit of zing, with Hennessy VS, muddled mint and lime, and a splash of ginger ale.
Caviar at Maple & Ash: There’s nothing quite the quenching, saline-packed punch of caviar to help celebrate the heat of summer. Or rather, help cool it down. Maple & Ash is among the best destinations in Chicago for caviar service, here available in 10-oz. portions of Siberian, Kaluga or American Ossetra. Each offering comes with the whole nine yards: warm blinis, potato chips, chives, egg, creme fraiche and capers.