Blue 13 | River North | Contemporary/Regional, Restaurant | Restaurant
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CLOSED. Bad-ass River North contemporary American restaurant from former Zealous sous chef Chris Curren.

Our Review

Tattoos! On the wall! Oh my stars! The rock ’n’ roll trappings of Blue 13, from former Zealous sous chef Chris Curren, aren’t any more original than those at Graham Elliot—the framed flash looks suspiciously similar to the wallpaper in the men’s room at Kuma’s. (Replace the skin art with skin diseases and maybe you’ll scare me.) But even if badass fine dining already seems so last year, I wouldn’t write off this little spot, housed in the former Tony Rocco’s River North. In the earlier dinner hours the vibe is dialed down, putting the focus on the food, and the kitchen’s ratio of hits to misses is not discouraging, starting on my last visit with “fish and chips,” a glass of ahi tuna tartare, taro chips, and wasabi foam—finally there’s a way to enjoy foam. A plank of pan-seared walleye balanced on four enormous and beautiful roasted-corn-and-manchego agnolotti would have been perfect if the pasta were cooked just a bit more (usually it’s the opposite problem). And while a structurally frustrating pylon of icy blood orange semifreddo toppled over repeatedly, a perfectly simple fudge brownie with coffee ice cream balanced the scale. I have to reserve highest praise for Curren’s signature “steak and eggs on acid”—beef tenderloin layered over pierogi and topped with a quail egg. A smear of wasabi between the steak and dumplings was a simple but inspired riff on horseradish that took this far beyond the realm of mere meat and potatoes—and made me think Curren just might rock harder than he pretends to.

Mike Sula

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Price: $$$$
Payment Type: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

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