Hot dogs, deep-dish pizza, mac and cheese: Things you can get anywhere, anytime in Chicago. $25 creamed morels, $65 foie gras terrine, $30 shrimp cocktail: Things you can only get The Office, and likely will never have the chance.
When it was first revealed that a secret invite-only VIP lounge would exist beneath The Aviary, Grant Achatz said it would be one of the most sought after spots in Chicago, adding that "the public won't have access to this room." Last night, Achatz sent out the final menus revealing the luxe offerings and high-priced items, that will likely have people champing at the bit to get inside, merely just to say they were there.
The Office, an intimate, exclusive 14-seat haunt located beneath Aviary and Next, will only open its doors if you're lucky enough to get an invitation. Last week, Eater popped in for a spell and had the chance to indulge in some of the $20 cocktails, many made with dozens of housemade tinctures conjured up by executive chef Craig Schoettler, including the Kirsch with cherry, Thai long peppercorn and Flemish ale; the Rum with green tea, blood orange pu-erh and lime; and the Bourbon with red pepper, guajillo, lemon and corn husk and can say they are as delicious as they are intriguing.
As for the food, you can be sure it's as decadent as it sounds. The bountiful shrimp cocktail came with a housemade sauce that had a hint of smoked pepper; the creamed Michigan morels exhibited a fantastic sponginess and when the toppings arrived for the sundae, you couldn't help but get giddy over the prize in front of you: sliced banana, chopped oreos and toffee, gummy bears, maraschino cherries, lightly whipped cream and peanuts. It was all there to accompany the housemade vanilla bean ice cream and super hot melted chocolate.
The Office, if you get the nod, is one of those places that's worth the experience, to cozy into the distressed leather chairs, sneak a glance at the found art hanging on the walls and to grab the key sitting on the edge of the bar to get back into the unmarked door if you need to use the bathroom. Because if you forget it, you can't get back in. And then you're stuck outside with everyone else, eating a hot dog.