“In the past, I’ve always run into hurdles with the culinary direction of the restaurant,” says Alpana Singh, former host of the Emmy-award-winning PBS restaurant review program, Check Please!, and “retired” master sommelier turned restaurateur. To mitigate this creative struggle, Singh chose to install herself as culinary director for Alpana, her newest restaurant in Chicago’s historic Gold Coast, and forewent hiring a chef; this decision serves as only the foundation for the expression of self she gives to her latest venture. Singh describes the decidedly non-fussy menu as comforting, with approachable entrees like Faroe Island salmon topped with king oyster mushrooms, roasted chicken served with aji verde, and braised short ribs cooked with pinot noir au jus. While neither the descriptions of the dishes nor the plating are flashy, don’t be fooled; the food is delicious.
With her accreditations in the wine industry, it might not be a surprise that Singh expresses herself most fluently through her wine program. The list covers all the bases, but what’s most noticeable is its customer-friendly pricing. A 2011 Dunn Vineyards Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon at just $210? Yes, please! When asked about her current star pairing, Singh noted the crispy polenta and mushrooms with a bottle of Domaine de l’Enclos Chablis from the 2018 vintage.
831 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610
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