25 November 2013,
I need to apologise for this very late review of the 2nd part of my November travels to LA and Chicago — but it was due to me moving and all the mess around the holidays. I’m just catching up now before I take an epic trip to Asia to eat for a few weeks…
Let’s say it was chaos getting to Chicago thanks to weather and airport issues, and because of that I missed the meetings that prompted me to come to Chicago in the first place… So I had 3 days to explore some places for food.
I’ve skipped a few places to review because they have closed at the end of 2013 either for good (Graham Elliot) or to be re-tooled (Boka). I have to say Boka (2nd night) was excellent, but the tasting at GE (1st night) was very trying and it’s pretty low on the list for tasting menus. Nearly as uninspiring as my Corton tasting (that’s closed too, saw writings on the wall there…). Idiotic beverage pairing system…
Anyway, on day three, I stumbled into Blackbird, where I have had lunch a few times before, for lunch on the first snow day of the year in Chicago. Of course, I walked around town without a coat and everyone is staring at me. Blackbird is a fantastic place lunch or dinner, and I was looking forward to this meal.
I went with the prix fixe lunch — an amazing deal at $22 in a Michelin-starred place. The first course was a celeriac soup.
Nice flavour, I really like celeriac — totally under-utilised. I use it all the time, especially in soups and stews. This was a creamy treat for a cold day.
The main course for this prix-fixe lunch was wood-grilled sturgeon — one of my favourite fish to eat.
The fish was tender and flavourful, with the broth bringing out the full essence of the fish. Excellent.
Dessert was a chocolate crémeux, which was a nice treat. I had a few house cocktails before and after the meal and chatted with the excellent bartender about how things are moving in Chicago, the very recent (and shocking) passing of Charlie Trotter, and more.
As I had errands to run I had to cut it short, so I headed out into the accumulating, puffy snow. Excellent and affordable meal once again in Chicago! This is an awesome food town!
619 West Randolph