photo credit: Sandy Noto

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West Loop

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightFine DiningImpressing Out of TownersQuiet MealsSpecial Occasions
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Much like getting married or going to your high school reunion to show off the fact that you’re successful and own a tie clip, eating at Elske isn’t something that you do on a whim. You don’t just stumble in here for a casual weeknight meal. If you’re coming here, you have something to celebrate, or otherwise want a special date night and are ready to spend well above average. But you know what? Just like wearing that tie clip to your high school reunion, you’ll be damned glad you did.

While it’s not on the same level of fanciness or expensiveness level of places like Oriole or Esme, we appreciate the upscale middle ground that Elske manages to fill. It’s both serious and fun, like your new, younger boss who had three drinks at the last company happy hour.

The menu is based around inventive Danish food, and you can go one of two ways: a la carte or tasting menu with an optional wine pairing, and there won’t be any crossover between the two. You’ll be happy, but we recommend going the tasting menu route. The price ends up close to the same, and unless you’re really set on ordering particular dishes from the a la carte menu, you’re better off in the kitchen’s hands.

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The food itself is full of familiar items joined together in unfamiliar combinations - like soft scrambled eggs with chicken confit, for example. It’s a common theme throughout the menu all the way down to desserts like frozen fennel candy with mint.

The space is what you might expect from a Scandinavian restaurant, meaning it’s bright, airy, and open, like an Ikea you actually want to be at. There’s also a nice outdoor fireplace area where you can grab a drink before or after dinner if the weather manages to crack 60 degrees. Music is always noticeable but it’s never too loud to be distracting, and the dynamics make Elske both cool and nice without being pretentious. Overall, it’s why Elske is perfect for your next fancy date night. Tie clips optional.

Food Rundown

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Soft Scrambled Eggs With Confit Chicken Thigh And Crispy Grains

The menu changes frequently but if this is on the menu, get it. Scrambled eggs aren’t the first thing you think of for dinner, but they will be for about a week after you eat this.
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Leeks Vinaigrette

We could go on a with a long-winded discussion of what exactly this is, or we can just tell you it’s covered in delicious, melty cheddar cheese.

Coconut Sorbet With Beet-Hibiscus Fluff

Dessert with… vegetables? The child version of us is throwing a hissy fit at the idea, but grown-up, sophisticated us are open people who tried this and liked it.
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Tasting Menu

There isn’t any crossover between the two menus (at least the times that we’ve been), but this is the best way to see what Elske is about. You’ll also get a sampling of things that you normally wouldn’t order. Would you order an appetizer of Tea of lightly smoked fruits and vegetables? No, probably not. But this is a perfect way to start off the tasting menu. Or the fennel gummy they give you before dessert? Again, no, but when you get the tasting menu you get these along with your slightly more traditional items like meat and fish, and creates a great, unique experience.

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