Midtown Athletic Club ( formerly known as Midtown Tennis Club ) is undergoing a massive renovation.
Among them is a new hotel slated to open next monthwitn no less a personality than tennis superstar Venus Williams lending a hand to design a suite. Also, it's slated to have 55 rooms, featuring contemporary design elements with luxury amenities and what promises to be stunning city views.
Another change involves the club restaurant Chromium ( 2444 N. Elston Ave.; www.midtown.com/chicago ), which offers contemporary American cuisine. Executive Chef Amanda Barnes ( from the restaurants Hot Chocolate and Packing House ) has come up with some intriguing dishes that are health-conscious, sinfully indulgentor both.
Barnes commented to Savor that she likes to use as many parts of the animal as possible, which has led her to create some creative and enticing dishes. For instance, take the salmon-skin chicharrones ( coupled with hot honey ) or the wagyu-and-beef heart meatballswhich Barnes said is a favorite of clubgoers. Both of these dishes were very tasty, but if you had told me I'd ever eat ( let alone enjoy ) those chicharrones while drinking kombucha, I would've branded you three shades of crazy.
However, there are plenty of tasty, more traditional offerings, such as ham panini, fried-chicken sandwich, whole snapper ( which I loved ), roasted half-chicken ( another winner ) and Job's tears ( tomato, cauliflower, roasted mushrooms, baby mustard greens and almonds ).
There's another reason to check out this restaurant, which is for club members and hotel guests exclusively: It's placed strategically near the pool deck and hotel ( for some interesting people-watching, or just for convenience ). The space houses 182 seats, with private dining for 16 and outdoor dining for 60.
By the way, if you can't stay, Chromium has plenty of grab-and-go items.
And here's a bit of trivia: The restaurant is named in honor of Midtown's co-founder, Kevie Schwartz, who, among other things, developed the process to chromium-plate the huge Chicago Tribune cylinders to print large runs of the Sunday issue.
Midtown Athletic Club is, of course, known for its slew of exercise-related offerings. However, with Chromium and the forthcoming hotel, the club is adding promising new facets.
Note: Restaurant profiles/events are based on invitations arranged from restaurants and/or firms.