After a short summer breather, Ryan McCaskey's Acadia will re-open tomorrow night with some changes to its dining room menus (the bar menu will remain the same). The South Loop fine dining destination has nixed their a la carte options in favor of a prix fixe menu and strengthened their tasting menu.
McCaskey decided to eliminate the a la carte option after observing that diners "generally ordered the same way" (first course, entrée, dessert) and that they gravitated towards the "popular, known items." Those items have found their way on the prix fixe menu with a small price break (three courses, $65 per person, $25 for wine pairings). He is most excited about the prix fixe's Strube Ranch wagyu dish (with broccoli, cashew, oyster, and fermented black bean) that he describes as a take on Chinese "beef with broccoli." A previous incarnation of the dish appeared on the menu, but is now "more refined and thought out."
A large majority of diners, 60 percent according to McCaskey, preferred ordering the tasting menu than a la carte. On July 19 this will also see an overhaul, expanding to eight courses from seven ($150 per person, $75 additional for wine pairings) and will also offer foie gras ($18), cheese ($15) and caviar ($65) supplements.
To reshape the tasting menu he spent the past week in Maine for research and development. The menu is not finalized but he did reveal one full course (suckling pig, crispy head cheese, pig ear terrine, pork sausage wrapped tenderloin, roasted peach, osmanthus pork jus, pickled mustard seeds) and hinted at several others: a lobster course, a composed charcuterie, a peekytoe crab course, and a raw course that will probably showcase Maine Bluefin tuna.
Acadia has received numerous accolades and awards since opening in December 2011, including being awarded "Best New Restaurant" at the Jean Banchet Awards in 2012 and a Michelin star, but McCaskey isn't one to rest on his laurels. These changes are a part of his plan to "evolve and push this restaurant as far as we can take it."
"I look at this as my one shot. No second chances. It'd be a disservice to do anything less. Part of that evolution is honing our focus and our food."
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· Acadia [Official Site]