The Blanchard | Lincoln Park | French, Contemporary/Regional | Restaurant
Modern French from executive chef Ryan Burns.

Our Review

An oeuf Outhier headlines the menu at the Blanchard, where Ryan Burns was promoted from chef de cuisine to executive chef after the departure of Jason Paskewitz. The wee showstopper, which arrives mounted on an egg cup, its crown neatly cut away to reveal a tuft of greenery and onyx pearls of domestic sturgeon caviar, is named for a French chef who cooked for the shah of Iran in the 70s. As your spoon swirls around egg curds and creme fraiche spiked with vodka, you might just feel a bit like a pampered and dissolute monarch. There are dishes like that all over the menu at the Blanchard; lush, luxurious echoes of opulence in a casual, almost bucolic Lincoln Park setting. A blanquette de veau is reinvented with a precisely cut, gently braised veal breast lightly draped in truffle-scented veloute, served with the customary vegetables, plus summer squash and crispy sweetbreads. The nouvelle approach works equally well on other dishes, namely duck a l'orange, rare planks of duck breast lacquered in a Grand Marnier glaze that hardens into a thin skin of crunchy candy. Excepting Next's efforts, I've often wondered whether it was possible to be thrilled by French food in Chicago anymore. The Blanchard, full of surprises yet still fundamentally French, is pregnant with possibilities.

Mike Sula

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Price: $$$$$
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