Here's The Jist:

As a Drink Editor I receive a lot of requests for restaurant, bar and nightlife recommendations. So I started a blog to chronicle Chicago's social scene which eventually morphed into New York's drinking and dining scene. After years in Chicago, I'm now a full time resident of NYC, the East Village to be exact. Look forward to sharing the latest and greatest from the wine & spirits world, straight from the Big Apple.

Monday, July 20, 2009

ROOF at the Wit Opens

The weather was gloomy and rain was in the air, but I had a new black dress from Bloomingdales and nothing was going to stand between my date with Roof at the new hotel, theWit (201 N. State). Sure my impossibly straight hair was falling flat from my attempt at hot rollers that morning and I may or may not have broken a strap on my sandals, but it was nothing a hair tie and a couple of cocktails couldn’t cure. And cure it did. Roof was so fun that it could turn an eternal pessimist into Elle Woods.

I hopped onto the express elevator and zipped up to the 27th floor (past the chic guest rooms and past Screen, the multimedia private viewing room where Game 4 of Lakers/Magic was being screened) and was greeted with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a cool palette of charcoal, black and ivory. It was sensory overload as I got off the elevator because I was so consumed with taking in the space - the vaulted ceiling, the seven-foot tall double sided fireplace, the plush lounge chairs and gasp! is that a glass-enclosed table for eight resting on a plank extension? - that I wasn’t quite sure if I was to go to the left towards the smorgasbord of food or choose my own adventure and opt for the right where a bevy of good looking people were mingling.

Sadly, or should I say, wisely, I chose the food.

Roof has an Italian-inspired small plates menu created by Executive Chef Todd Stein and as a precursor to our full dinner at State and Lake, we nibbled on a light menu sampling. Funghi Pizza made with roasted oyster mushrooms, smoked mozzarella and thyme and Bianco’s Pizza decked out in parmesan, pistachios and rosemary were two of my favorites. The mini Grilled Lamb Burgers with minted cucumber dressing and tomato marmalata were the perfect size, ideal for sharing with friends over a cocktail.

And speaking of cocktails, Roof has an eclectic selection of European wines and a gourmet cocktail program, one in which this drink writer thoroughly enjoyed.

The space is really quite stunning. It’s as if there are all of these nooks and crannies that you could see yourself claiming to be your spot. There are two outdoor terraces: one that has a P. Diddy white party Miami vibe and the other that has a more Hamptons chaise lounging chair feel. The interior is warm and inviting, begging for conversation and a crisp glass of wine.

As the clouds subsided and the Chicago skyline could be seen in all her glory, it was down to the floor level for dinner at State and Lake where we sampled a wonderful display of appetizers, small plates, entrees, beer, wine and, of course, dessert.

State and Lake is a great place for a pre-theatre dinner and drink (go for the Louisiana BBQ shrimp with cheddar bacon grits and a glass of white), a casual beer with an old friend (small plate of baby back ribs with far east sauce and cashews paired with one of their 16 beers on tap) or a dinner with the girls (lemon sage roasted chicken with fingerling potatoes and a bottle of Klee, a pinot noir from the Willamette Valley).

Once summer weather decides it wants to show up in Chicago, I’ll be the first to round up the troops and head up to Roof and dine at State and Lake. Then again, if bad hair and drizzly weather didn’t stop me from this night, unseasonably cold weather has nothing on me.

P.S. Cheeky is looking forward to Cibo Matto, the Wit’s yet to be opened restaurant. Get excited.

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