The team behind Evanston's Blind Faith Cafe has remade Jacky's Bistro, renaming it Jacky's on Prairie and revamping the menu to include French bistro mainstays like onion soup and roasted chicken as well as more globally influenced creations. Of the openers we tried, the most enjoyable was plump mussels served Catalan-style in a saffron-scented cream sauce flecked with butifarra sausage. A foie gras terrine with fig compote arrived icy cold; the accompanying almond biscotti were the best part of the dish. The warm shredded pheasant and chestnut puree tart ringed by crumbled blue cheese, though flavorful, needed more than a crown of frisee and diced green grapes to cut the richness. And the onion soup with an optimal melt of Gruyere was a tad undersalted. Entrees range from Dover sole for two to Moroccan vegetable tagine, but the duck caught our fancy because the thick slices of rosy breast came fanned out on sagamite, a Native American vegetable stew (reputedly served to Marquette and Joliet by the Peoria Indians) of hominy, wild rice, applewood-roasted winter squash, mushrooms, and Jerusalem artichokes, augmented with duck leg confit. The skate fish set off by beurre noir was also a winner, thanks to a complementary bed of skinny green beans, braised fennel strips, wild mushrooms, and brussels sprout leaves. For dessert, the chocolate palet--dense mousse on a crispy chocolate-hazelnut base, accented by orange zest and coated with ganache--surpassed competent profiteroles. The eclectic global wine list (with a slight emphasis on France) is priced between $29 and $300, and besides a decent by-the-glass selection offers a handful of better wines by the half glass (an option I wish more restaurants would embrace).
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