One part art gallery. One part industrial complex. One part restaurant. That’s FT33.

Today I was treated to lunch at one of the most anticipated openings this year: Chef McCallister’s FT 33.  This special meal, laid out for the media, was a spectacular sampling of the type of work McCallister lives for: artistic, creative, molecular, fun. Oh, and it tasted great too.

FT33 calls itself “season inspired modern cuisine,” and I think it’s pretty fitting. The modern part is the most obvious, due to the plating and the use of molecular gastronomy. Not every dish is for everyone, but there’s nothing too, too intensely crazy either. If you’re a casually adventurous eater you should do well at FT33.

See below for a slideshow of the interior of the space, but let’s just go course by course through the meal, shall we? Here we go.


Sure I’ll have a cocktail with my weekday lunch. Why not. This one was the Corpse Reviver #2, and since I slept like the dead last night I was happy to give it a try. Made with Hendrick’s gin, Cointreau, Kina Lillet and lemon. It was so grapefruit, it could have been my breakfast. Let’s go with that. The smoked pink salt rim added complexity and balanced the cocktail’s sweetness.

This creamy roasted cauliflower soup came first, decorated with swirls of piquillo pepper and creme fraiche, and studded with two peeled grapes and a few capers. It was part work of art, part creamy comfort.

The chicken dish was my favorite on this visit. I loved the combination of sweet and sour preserved peach and meaty chanterelles with the chicken done in not one or two, but three delicious ways. The white breast meat was center stage, with a composed cube of dark meat beside it, and crispy chicken skin was mixed with panko breadcrumbs for crunch.

A close-up view reveals the texture in those beautiful mushrooms.

In a plate that resembles a Tim Burton set, the short ribs seen here sat atop potato puree amidst a forest of roasted root vegetables. The sweetness of the root vegetables was incredible, and the beef-fat-scallion salmoriglio made for a sophisticated dip.

Here’s a closer look at that rich, meaty beef.

The desserts we were served exemplified the dishes on McCallisters Interesting to Too Weird scale. This dish – blue cheese, pomegranate, walnut, olive oil – was honestly a bit closer to the Too Weird end of the spectrum. Fluffy whipped cream-like blue cheese with walnut crumble and pomegranate didn’t do it for me. But that’s why I say every dish is not for everyone. And that’s what sharing is for. This dessert was served to half the diners; the other half were served the dessert pictured below.

Chef Valentine (soon to be of Top Chef fame) came by to chat about his desserts. “This is my first time as a pastry chef,” he explained. Now that was surprising to hear.

FT33  |  1617 Hi Line  |

NOTE: This meal was a media lunch put on by FT33 and their PR agency. Thus, it was entirely free to me and the other attendees. But as I’ve said before, this bitch can’t be bought, or sold. 😉

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