Located atop the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel on Michigan Avenue, Cindy's is popular in the summertime for its views of Millennium Park. However, a new year has brought a completely new menu, with a few tasty surprises that don't require waiting until warmer weather arrives.
Cindy's used to seem too expensive, but gone are the mandatory shareable plates, which made it hard to eat for one or two.
"Reduce the price point slightly, make it more approachable for two-tops," said the Chef, Keith Potter. "I come from a background of a little smaller plates and finer dining so kind of took every portion and cut it in half and both of those are listed on the menu."
Potter's Great Lakes whitefish is one of the stars.
He sautees celery and shallots with rendered bacon and thumbelina carrots. Pickled pearl onions add crunch.
He bastes the fish with butter, on both sides.
"Nice northeast-flavored potato chowdered base. Clam, lemon and tabasco," he said.
The duck is remarkable, made even better with a sweet-sour sauce called aigre-doux, but there's also plenty of mustard seeds, onions and winter citrus above the bed of lentils.
"Cara Cara oranges, there's tangelos, there's honey tangerines there's everything we get from our forager," said Potter.
His torchio pasta is unique in a city awash with predictable pasta. 'Nduja - a hot calabrian spreadable sausage made in the Western suburbs - is cooked with sweet onions.
Creme fraiche adds richness and balances the heat, while charred broccoli and pickled peppers give it some bite. The pasta is tossed with the sauce just before serving.
"I like the idea of it being a really upscale version of shells and cheese; lots of parmesan, crme fraiche, charred broccoli and the nice spice from the 'nduja we get," he said.
One of the biggest changes here at Cindy's has been the size of the plates. No longer the giant, massive shareable ones, but rather the more personal size plates, and even if you just come for a snack, you still can't beat the view up here.
EXTRA COURSE: ABC7 food reporter Steve Dolinsky talks about an off-menu burger that's only available for 90 minutes a day
CINDY'S ROOFTOP BAR
12 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago