7/30/2012 11:01:00 AM

First Look at RM Champagne, a Hidden Salon

RM Champagne, photos by Chris Geick
At the first right, follow the cobblestone alley until it reveals a flickering black and white film projected in the courtyard. Brick walls surround a raised patio, and it’s difficult to tell if you are entering nouveau France or old Hollywood. Once the champagne begins to flow in RM, all we know is we’re not in Chicago anymore.

The new champagne salon is hidden in the back of Nellcôte and sharing a secluded al fresco escape with g.e.b. Six months of delays due to construction and permitting issues were worth the wait - the bubbly selection was curated by Jason Wagner, who spent the past decade cultivating his sommelier career (he most recently worked as wine director at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in New York) and it's easily one of the most interesting lists in Chicago.

Champagne is served by the bottle or glass, Wagner will announce via social media when large format bottles are available for sampling. It is best enjoyed while lounging on the tufted leather sofa next to the candle-filled fireplace. Warning: when drinkers stand, not only do side effects include tipsiness, but also increased vanity while catching their reflection in the gold-framed mirror that's illuminated by a crystal chandelier.

Not sexy enough for you yet? Check out the savory menu that features oysters on the half shell, caviar service and full seafood platter along with a selection of tasting dishes. The menu of smaller plates designed by chef Jared Van Camp features equally elegant dishes such as quail egg ravioli, organic salmon with Sriracha aioli, and crispy oysters in champagne batter with bernaise sauce.

As the sun sets and the courtyard lights up with tea lights, find comfort under one of the amber chandeliers adjacent to the marble bar. Order a round of mignardises or petit fours (and another round of champagne) prepared by chef Nate Meads. The dessert menu combines the sophistication of fine pastry with the trendiness assocated with Element Collective (Nellcôte, Old Town Social and Quality Social). Highlights include PB+J truffles and chocolate covered cherry lollipop as well as red velvet macarons and Grand Marnier marshmallows.

Once the cheese and chocolate have been devoured it's time come down from that champagne high. Ok, ok, - maybe after one more glass.....

RM is open to the public on Thursday at 116 N. Green St.; 312-243-1199

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