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  • Payton Pinsky

Althea Chicago | Vegan Fine Dining

Chef Matthew Kenney is an American celebrity chef, entrepreneur, author, and educator specializing in plant-based cuisine. He owns plant-based restaurants all over the country featuring everything from fine dining cuisine, to pizza, sushi, and more. His Chicago restaurant, Althea, was a true specialty to dine at for my birthday. The restaurant is tucked away on the 7th floor of Saks Fifth Avenue. Featuring open windows for a beautiful view of the city and low-light dining create a truly relaxing atmosphere.

It is pretty infrequent that I dine at such high end restaurants, so finding one that was all plant based was truly a dream come true. I can easily say the food was some of the best I have ever eaten. Every dish that came out of the kitchen looked mouth watering and it was hard to decide on what to try. We kicked off our meal with the Crab Cakes made with Heart of Palm. This dish was a flavor explosion to my taste buds. The cakes melted in your mouth and tasted just like crab.

For our main dishes, I chose a coconut curry risotto. The dish came surrounded with fresh mint leaves which created a very unique flavor. It was topped with rings of squash and a cilantro chutney. Chef Kenney put together flavors on this dish I would never even imagine to pair together. Another very unique dish we dined on were the Kelp Noodle Cacio E Pepe. I never even knew you could make noodles out of kelp and I don't believe I had ever eaten kelp before this dish. They looked and tasted just like a real pasta noodle with a bit of a zing. The cashew cream sauce came chilled which we were nervous about, but it was a pleasantly delicious surprise.

We ended our meal with a chocolate cashew cheesecake. This was honestly my least favorite part of the meal. The taste was outstanding but the dish itself was difficult to break through, which made eating it a bit tough. I definitely look forward to trying some of the other deserts they offer the next time I find myself in their establishment.

Overall, Althea blew me expectations out of the water. The prices are very fair, the staff never lets your drink go empty, and the atmosphere and food are truly divine. If you are in Chicago, you absolutely need to check out Althea. I look forward to doing more traveling around the country to try some other restaurants from Chef Matthew Kenney.

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