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Paul Virant's first farm-to-table restaurant.

Our Review

Located in Western Springs (well within the known universe, 30 minutes from the Loop), Paul Virant's Vie was a pioneer in more ways than one, scoring the very first liquor license in town. But of course the restaurant is more known for its farm-to-table approach, in particular its larder of vegetables and herbs "put by" for use in the winter and early spring. Marinated quail, cooked as little as possible to keep it moist and juicy, was studded with house-pickled garlic and onions; a brined, wood-grilled center-cut pork chop came carrying a phyllo purse of subtle house-made choucroute. Lamb was done three ways: slow-cooked leg, roasted loin, and a crepinette pressed through an antique sausage maker passed down by Virant's grandmother. Preserved strawberries with ice cream were fabulous, deep red and much sweeter and more dense than many fresh-picked berries.

David Hammond

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Price: $$$$

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