Aviary, Chicago

Last New Year’s Eve we somehow obtained seats at Aviary. For some reason, it doesn’t get a rise out of people like Alinea. However, the idea of being able to purchase black truffle explosion à la carte was pretty exciting.


We walked in to a weirdly warm, candlelit environment. Imagine a medieval pub with foie gras on the menu and people wielding fendi instead of flails. The room was largely intimidating due in part to the audience watching the chefs orchestrate this wonderful art.

The kitchen was clearly visible from front of house with highboy tables sprinkled around the enclosure; we could observe the chefs at work as thought they were giraffes in the zoo, fencing included.


Every restaurant tries to have a thing. Aviary’s thing is mixology. So when I say we ordered five courses, I mean we had a five cocktail meal accompanied by a food pairing.

I. Pomegranate raspberry liqueur + octopus takoyaki

II. White chocolate blood orange popsicle doused in gin + concord grape, black truffle with maitake, cream and hazelnut

III. Pineapple foam with nutmeg smoke + kampachi ceviche

Side note, I was reasonably intoxicated at this point and not taking any notes. Apologies for hardly any details.

IV. Ice wine concoction with anise, lemon, some herbs

see terrible picture of ice wine concoction, in famous Aviary decanter

V. Juniper smoke and bourbon + apricot glass foie gras plus pistachio

With this dish, my husband told me I was speaking in cursive and to stop drinking.

VI. oyster shooter with champagne and strawberry foam

VII. Pirate ship booze +lime astronaut food ice cream

Then I barfed in the street like a dog, which was highly unfortunate because I’d already paid for the food I didn’t get to ever fully digest.


We obviously got more than five drinks, which was really lovely on the Aviary staff. They were totally reasonable when I realized I was such a lightweight.


I’m fairly sure we’re not welcome at the Aviary anymore, but I plan on investing in a set of fake mustaches. Fucking great food.

We never had a chance to order black truffle explosion, so look for a future Alinea post.


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