They forward a “manifesto” of “ENGiNEERED DiNiNG & DRiNK” (their stylization) – but there’s nothing particularly mechanical about Chicago’s new Wicker Park restaurant sensation Machine. Indeed, despite the name, there is a rather singular sense of romanticism about the place.
Owners Brian Galati and Chireal Jordan were until now known for the equally intriguingly named Headquarters Beercade in River North. But here they take conceptualizing to entirely new places – gracing the somewhat industrial interior aesthetic with a particularly flouncy, almost Louis VXI style flower shop in the front bar area.
The most buzzed about food option is the foie gras topped burger – though we’re pretty sure that’s actually been done before. Nevertheless, the satisfying menu plays to several current culinary trends: carrot tartare, beets w/ puffed quinoa, gnocchi w/ braised oxtail, plus bucatini w/ shiitake mushrooms and an excellent veal osso buco.
Colorful, wildly creative cocktails are particularly histrionic in their presentation – four even come with fancy hammers, to smash through a hardened surface layer before getting to the liquid magic (We’ll mercifully hold off on the “getting hammered” jokes). The (Caged & Infused), for instance, is made with butterfly flower tea-infused gin, and, well, it’s very purple. Amongst the sharing punches, one – made with rum, hibiscus, spiced pear and lime – is charmingly called A Giraffe of Wild Daiquiri.
But the lover in you will surely most appreciate the tableside flower cart service – though be forewarned, edible flora is one trend not being cultivated at Machine.