Restaurant Week: Blackbird

February 26 2010 - 12:59 PM

X2_be616b So I found out too late that Blackbird was serving dinner in addition to lunch specials for restaurant week. But, no matter, I was in for the typical Blackbird treat.

I hit about 4 places every restaurant week. I find the choices made to be very indicative of the caliber of restaurant. You can tell when certain menus seem chintzy. It sometimes is a type of ingredient or a very common dish. Broad examples would be pasta-heavy options or maybe lots of chicken. It could maybe be dishes with very few ingredients or big hunks of grilled something ie. burgers, etc.

Blackbird offered roasted chicken, grilled trout or a sweet potato agnolotti and in doing so could suggest some prix fixe adjustment. But it just goes to show how perceptions are unreliable. It may have been one of the best lunches out that I've had (the last one also being at Blackbird).

I'm a devotee. It is my favorite Chicago restaurant.  I find Chefs Kahan and Sheerin to be in lock-step. Tim Dahl has moved on but pastry chef Patrick Fahey has not only kept the desserts sublime but brings his own welcome character, (another hometown Chicago talent) fresh from a year at the French Laundry no less, to ornate, decadent and refreshing desserts… how often do you hear of a refreshing-decadence?

The first course of parsnip bisque was poured over smoked sturgeon, pickled fennel, maple yogurt and hazelnuts. It's a style I like, poured tableside, where spoonfuls are more dependent on the assorted components in combination with the bisque. Each bite is a little different. The maple flavor might have been a bit lost but the sourness of the yogurt wasn't.

The wood grilled brook trout was served with a broccoli puree, long peels of parsley root, powdered black beans that I thought might have been cocoa nibs and wonderful tiny bits of violet mustard spatzle. The spatzle was pink and shiny, moist and pungent. It could easily been confused as being bits of fatty tuna or strange meaty somethings… The flavor was very pronounced albeit, the texture kept it honest as spatzle. The mustard really was a nice touch. The trout, broccoli puree and parsley root all hung together and while I was more intrigued by the tiny purple spatzle-pellets I was very happy.

Dessert was beautiful I'll just re-type the menu since I don't know really what much of it is… Satuma chiboust with campari, pineapple, semolina and zingerman cheese ice cream. Was terrific. Rich, creamy, tart, sweet, surprising – the little candied balls cracked into sweet liquid. And it was pretty enough for me to snap a picture with my phone.

The best part about the meal is the fine print at the bottom:
$22 prix fixe menu available Monday-Friday year-round.

619 W. Randolph
(312) 715-0708