My mother had an artist friend visiting and I was invited to join them for the afternoon at The Art Institute of Chicago. It has been awhile since I’ve gotten my culture on at a museum and the dreary, cloudy Chicago day had me extra happy to be invited (and of course seeing my mom). A nice surprise upon arrival was free admission to Illinois residents the first and second Wednesday of every month.
Before tackling the Modern Wing we decided to fortify ourselves with some lunch at Terzo Piano. It’s worth noting that this restaurant is open to the public, you do not need to go to the museum to eat here. While waiting to be seated we took in the view of Millennium Park and the sculpture exhibit on the terrace. The sculptures looked like blown up versions of brightly colored tchotchkes. The artist bio describes the intention as, “…Fritsch’s works create an unnerving familiarity that is subsequently destabilized by the realization that we are seeing a form, a character, or an object for the very first time. ” Interesting to see but yes, strange (or for some unnerving).
The dining room of Terzo Piano is open and minimal with white and marble dominating the room. Large windows surround the restaurant so on a sunny day I can image the light would be beautiful. Of course there is artwork displayed for you to enjoy while eating. I really like the circular open kitchen structure out on its own in the entryway.
Everything on the menu sounded delicious. I had the chickpea and veggie burger with zucchini and chillies, served open-faced with romesco, tender greens, Parmesan and lemon. I am usually skeptical of veggie burgers since most of the time they taste bland to me. Maybe it was the addition of the chickpeas but this “burger” (it’s more of a sandwich) was full of flavor and tasted complex (for real). I was glad it was served open-faced on seven-grain bread, as a bun would have gotten in the way. The burger had a soft consistency with a crusted outside and was more than filling. The romesco sauce had a little kick to it, which was nice.
The service was excellent and the rosemary focaccia and olive oil served at the table was better than expected. This is a great place to stop for lunch while at the museum. If you are looking to grab a quick bite then Caffè Moderno is a nice spot. It over looks Griffin Court for some good people watching and they serve some great coffee.