Roister: to ”enjoy oneself or celebrate in a noisy or boisterous way.” Roister is a New American restaurant located in Fulton Market, a meatpacking turned urban district lined with trendy restaurants, chic boutiques, and stunning views of the Chicago skyline.
As you step into Roister, you are greeted with a modern atmosphere; the restaurant is dark and sleek and the dress is casual, not unlike many restaurants within the city. What sets this restaurant apart from the competition was the kitchen. The spotless, meticulously organized kitchens are integrated into the dining area, with counter seating available connected directly in front of the chef’s work spaces. The breakdown of the barrier between kitchen and dining allows guests to feel more connected to the chefs and the culinary process as a whole. We were led to our table, our steps in sync with The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” blasting in the background, understanding how the restaurant chose its name. Stepping into the bustling atmosphere with club-like music setting the mood, you’re introduced to the meal that is to come.
Reservations at Roister are made through an online ticket system, with many options of how you can have your meal served. You can choose an “a la carte” option, where you order from a menu, or, if you like to step out of your food comfort zone, you can choose the ‘Prep Kitchen’ option, where the chef chooses a multi-course tasting for you. With option, they give you no clue into which foods they will be preparing for you, so you’re completely putting your faith in the chef. We went with the ‘Prep Kitchen’ option, sat down in front of the chefs, and waited to see what they would put down before us while Bruno Mars boomed in the background.
Above was the first course of the night. These oysters were prepared with a mushroom sauce, and while we aren’t usually fans of mushroom, it added a nice flavor to the dish. Below is another dish from the night, a fresh salad made with radishes, cucumber, carrots, and egg. The egg complemented the vegetables well and the dressing added a light creaminess to the dish that packed in a ton of flavor.
Below you’ll see a dish that’s unlikely to be found in most tasting menus: fried chicken and biscuits. The chefs at Roister put their own New American spin on this American classic, adding spices to the chicken that complemented the sweetness in the biscuits hidden below. As we dove into this course, we could tell it was a hit, and some of us around the table agreed that these were the best biscuits we’ve ever tasted. This dish had a bit of heat to it, but the coleslaw which can be seen in the photo below helped to calm the bite.
The course below was the chef’s take on Chinese takeout. On the right side you’ll see a crab fried rice, one of the biggest hits of the night. This dish was paired with a side of green beans cooked with Asian glazes. Unpictured is the chefs’ potstickers that completed this Asian inspired course, another hit of the night.
To finish the meal we were served three desserts that can be seen below. The top dish shows the chefs’ milk and cookies. This was a vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate chip cookie dough bites and cookie crumble pieces. The second dessert was the chef’s version of a Take 5 bar, made with foie gras. Finally, there was an apple cinnamon dessert topped with a cherry gelatin. While all the desserts added a nice sweetness at the end of the meal, our favorite was the cookies and cream.
By the end of our night, the restaurant showed no signs of slowing down and its lively atmosphere was still packed with diners laughing and enjoying their meals while music still blared from the speakers. Roister’s hip atmosphere along with its creative courses have secured the restaurant a spot as one of our favorite dining places in the city.