Play Time

Hot dogs, whiskey floats and other fun at Allium

Kevin Hickey's work at Seasons earned rave reviews and Michelin stars.

But this is a chef who also loves expounding on the subtle science of fried chicken and the nuances of biscuits (which he served every Thursday in the restaurant's lounge).

Now that Seasons has morphed into the more casual Allium, "all rules are off," says Hickey, as he takes the opportunity to play.

The restaurant is open all day, but dinner is where his penchant for big flavors and imaginative comfort is expressed best. Start with warm burrata, given a briny Chicago boost with giardiniera-style pickled vegetables ($12). The 24-hour onion tarte Tatin ($12) is equally lush, with sous-vide-cooked onions and a goat-cheese filling.

The menu features a handful of bigger plates. But we encourage at least one order of Hickey's playful, exemplary version of the Chicago hot dog ($14). The dog is a holdover from the Seasons bar, and every component is made in-house.

Follow with an unabashedly sugary dessert, like a peanut butter-Concord grape float adorned with cotton candy ($5), peanut butter cookies ($4) or a bag of donut holes ($6). Or spike an Old West Float with whiskey ($9), and toast to nostalgia.

Allium, 120 E. Delaware Pl.; 312-799-4900 or alliumchicago.com