Chicago has hit peak kale status.
Seriously, guys: Sophie's at Saks has created a kale salad so good that everyone else can just stop trying.
We sort of can't believe we're writing about a restaurant in a department store, either, but the new ultra-glam space on the seventh floor (guys, watch out, you have to walk through the tempting men's department) is one of the more solid shop 'n lunch options downtown.
You might be seated next to fashionably suited businessmen, rich-looking ladies who lunch or, as during one of our visits, Russians decked head-to-toe in furs. Considering we paid more attention to the food than the fashion, we were definitely the odd ones out.
Kale Caesar with white anchovies
Now, about that kale salad ($20): Combining fresh baby kale and crispy baked kale, it's a culinary innovation worthy of a medal--if anyone gave awards for salad. The little bursts of crunch mixed in with the greens make it feel like kale fireworks are going off in your mouth. The whole thing is topped with hunks of Amish chicken, lemon-yogurt dressing and white anchovies.
Not in the mood for forage? No problem. Go for the salmon ($25) with cumin-spiced carrots and cress. Pair it with a spicy, herbal housemade thyme soda, perfect with the rich fish. If you want to go a little crazy, grab a grilled cheese made with Carr Valley triple cream ($15).
It must be noted that Sophie's isn't cheap. It's not even reasonably priced. You're paying a premium for the location, the view and the name.
But if you want to pretend to be one of the glitterati for a few hours, we can't think of a better spot.