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Nellcôte, RM Inching Closer and Closer to Opening

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16 Schonbek chandeliers hang from the ceiling
16 Schonbek chandeliers hang from the ceiling

You never got to party with the Rolling Stones when they existed at their height of debauchery, but Element Collective, the team behind the soon-to-open Nellcôte wants to bring you a step closer to that experience. Eater walked through the massive 7,000 square-foot dining room this week with partners chef Jared Van Camp, Chris Freeman and Chris Dexter and the restaurant, while still definitely in construction mode, is getting closer to hitting its late-February target opening.

In the past the team revealed to Eater the project would cost about $3.5 million to create a space filled with luxurious decadence and it's starting to become apparent why. With 16 glistening Schonbek crystal chandeliers hanging high above the the grand gallery, an baroque-styled bordered bar adorned with Hermès orange and custom-made chairs, a curved entry wall boasting 440 eight-inch glass vases that will perpetually house fresh lavender to evoke Provence, gorgeous herringbone wood flooring throughout, ornamental branched candlesticks above the bar, an ornate framed glass tube installation featuring muse Anita Pallenberg and lush tapestries above couch-like banquettes, the bi-level space has the feeling of a North Shore mansion.

But once the food and drink start flowing throughout the 225-seat restaurant (with an added 160-seat patio wrapping around on Randolph and Green streets), it'll seem more like Villa Nellcôte, the French mansion where the Stones holed up to record Exile on Main Street. At least that's what Element Collective is hoping.

The space has a number of great vantage points, but two of the best spots may be the two Juliet-like balconies, one for an eight top and the other for a cozy deuce that will turn into the DJ booth late night. Those exclusive tables both flank the white Italian marble staircase toward the back of the room. Another great spot to see-and-be-seen will be the area just above the main floor bar; while the team is still figuring out what they'll do there, if it becomes a bar-like counter to drink and dine, you literally overlook the entire space.

Speaking of eating and drinking, Van Camp has installed a Mugnaini wood-burning brick pizza oven imported from Tuscany where he'll make Neapolitan-style 'za with whole wheat flour milled in house; some creations will feature fontina, sunny-side up egg and truffles; clams, green onion, chilis and creme fraiche; and fennel sausage, tomato sauce and mozzarella.

Where the rest of the menu is concerned, Van Camp won't be messing around: foie gras torchon with housemade brioche and maraschino jelly; grilled diver scallop with uni, dill, pickled leeks and Vichyssoise sauce; veal sweetbreads with broccoli-hazelnut puree; spaghetti with Champagne and oysters; and frog leg raviolini "en brodo" with parsley, pine nuts and black garlic. That's just a sampler; see Van Camp's full working menu below. And not unlike neighbor the Aviary, Van Camp is crafting an in-kitchen cocktail program where drinks like a Yellow Jacket or a Peach Swizzle will reportedly be $10 or less.

But don't think Nellcôte was the only thing to see. Element Collective is also busy working to open RM Champagne Salon behind the restaurant at 116 N. Green. Here, guests will enter down a cobblestone alley along a paved walkway bordered by knee-high planters created by Sara Gasbarra's Verdura. Walking in, guests will first see a beautiful credenza housing the numerous wine decanters and a bar featuring mahogany wood reclaimed from Marché, which used to be in the building.

While guests sip Champagne poured from magnums and wine from a list carefully curated by sommelier Jason Wagner and select cheese and petit fours off rolling carts, they'll comfortably be seated on couches beneath Schonbek chandeliers, in front of a working marble-adorned wood-burning fireplace and gaze at six Cartier-inspired jewelry busts mounted on the wall while servers in custom-made outfits refill their glasses.

But unlike Nellcôte, this space is still pretty raw (like really raw) and likely won't be ready to roll until late March. While seating here will be limited to the number of spots inside, once summer hits, that intimate, urban cobblestone courtyard will hold dozens more creating one of the most exciting spots in the city. Can you wait for it?

Nellcôte Working Menu

· Nellcôte to Ooze Decadence and Classic Luxury Through $3.5MM Buildout [~EChi~]
· Jared Van Camp to Create Nellcôte Kitchen Cocktail Program [~EChi~]
· Nellcôte Team Working on Champagne Salon With Top NY Sommelier Jason Wagner [~EChi~]

RM Champagne Salon

116 North Green Street, , IL 60607 (312) 243-1199 Visit Website


833 W Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607 312.432.0500 Visit Website