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    Post #1 - December 13th, 2017, 11:16 pm
    Post #1 - December 13th, 2017, 11:16 pm Post #1 - December 13th, 2017, 11:16 pm
    Bellemore bills itself as "New American Classic," which appears to describe the shared ethos and aspirations of its pursuing-one-Michelin-star neighbors Sepia and Blackbird as much as what's on the plate at this new Boka Group restaurant. The menu organization and pricing here is comparable to its competitors; the difference is largely in atmosphere, as Bellemore embraces post-barnyard maximalism: think big airy spaces, mismatched tile and wall prints, semi-bemusing object fetishism (here, peacocks). Unlike Proxi across the street, here the inspiration appears to be a 1930s Hollywood restaurant--or, at least, Woody Allen's idea of one.

    The food shows a lot of promise--so much so, in fact, that if Chef Papadoulos keeps improving and refining he should have no problem garnering a star of his own next year. There is the same level of refinement found here as at Blackbird, but the emphasis on bright flavors exceeded the latter's often muted precision. The Fall Salad, a mix of radicchio and brussel sprout leaves, came to life thanks to generously salted quinoa and pepitas; the champagne vinegar and honey dressing added the sweetness and acid that tied together what had to have been a 10+ ingredient salad. A suckling pig entree came with some surprise meat treats--chicharrones and a part that was something like the pig equivalent of roasted foie gras--but was sharpened by salted plums, milk custard, and the addition of vinegar to the jus.

    The novelty/vanity headliner is the Oyster Pie, $65 for two three-bite wedges of oyster custard, a modest shit ton of caviar, and tweezer things. It's a lovely bite--luxurious mouthfeel, just the right amount of brine--but I couldn't help but think this would be best as an opening salvo to a tasting menu with many more courses to come, rather than as a super expensive amuse bouche. (The glass(es) of champagne that comes with it is/are a nice touch, though.)

    Dessert felt like an afterthought; we passed. They do serve a few token petit fours, but they're overly sweet without any nuance.

    564 W Randolph St
    Chicago, IL 60661
    (312) 667-0104
  • Post #2 - December 14th, 2017, 2:12 pm
    Post #2 - December 14th, 2017, 2:12 pm Post #2 - December 14th, 2017, 2:12 pm
    chezbrad wrote:a modest shit ton

    Oxymoron alert! :lol:
  • Post #3 - January 3rd, 2019, 2:58 pm
    Post #3 - January 3rd, 2019, 2:58 pm Post #3 - January 3rd, 2019, 2:58 pm
    I went in pretty skeptically, primarily because I've all but burnt out on fine-dining over the past couple of years, but I think this place easily rises above the ever-growing sprawl of fine-dining mundaneness and homogeneity. With the exception of a couple desserts that didn't come close to equaling the level of the savory food, our meal was excellent.

    Now priced at $95/slice, the Oyster Pie is a bit of a sucker play but hey, I've been called worse. 4 of us split a slice, which the kitchen very intuitively cut into 2 slices (one for each couple) without us even requesting it. It was as delicious as it sounds . . .

    Oyster Pie
    (oyster custard topped with an ounce of osetra caviar, crème fraîche, green apple, dill)

    Other highlights included . . .

    Venison Tartare
    (cave-aged cheddar, pickled asian pears, seeded rye, spicy tokyo turnips, black lime)

    Kona Kanpachi
    (horseradish, fermented tomato, lime)

    Hand-Cut Spaghetti
    (winter black truffles, egg yolk, parmesan + $15 white Alba truffle supplement)

    Icelandic Cod
    (Baja shrimp, cauliflower, beurre blanc, vin jaune)

    Maine Lobster
    (local farm carrots, yuzu, miso beurre)

    I only got a taste of the lobster but I really enjoyed it. Ditto for a few others I wasn't able to get shots of like the Fried Black Rice (Maine lobster, Baja shrimp, dried squid X/O, meyer lemon, smoked scallop), the 40-day-aged Angus Strip (crispy veal sweetbreads, brassicas, sauce perigourdine) and the Green Circle Chicken (hen of the woods mushrooms, red wine hollandaise, smoked egg yolk, crispy chicken skin).

    As I mentioned above, a couple of unimpressive desserts marred the finish of the meal. One, a Banana Chai Pot de Creme (glazed black walnuts, crispy strudel, pomegranate), was a virtually flavorless and visually unappealing mess. Another, a visually appealing Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake (chocolate streusel, candied butternut squash, calamansi), managed to combine "triple chocolate" into a net result that barely delivered any chocolate flavor. Who knows? Maybe the three chocolates all cancelled each other out.

    Service was competent enough, though absolutely robotic throughout our meal. Try as we might, it was damned near impossible to knock our server off his scripted routine. So, in the end, there was nothing between us that came even close to resembling human interaction. It's a real shame when you're made to feel like you're visiting from another planet when in actuality, you're sitting in a half-empty dining room on a Wednesday night, only 5.1 miles from home.

    But even with the negatives, the non-dessert food prevailed enough to leave me with positive feelings about the place. Would I recommend it unconditionally? No, but I've no doubt that Bellemore will fit the bill for some inquiry (or inquiries) that will come my way in the future. Hell, I'm likely to return in the future. And maybe next time, if I open by asking the server to "take me to your leader," it'll all go better from there. :wink:

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #4 - January 5th, 2019, 10:33 am
    Post #4 - January 5th, 2019, 10:33 am Post #4 - January 5th, 2019, 10:33 am
    Have eaten here a few times since my OP and can concur with Ronnie: really thoughtful mains, middling desserts, weak service.
  • Post #5 - January 5th, 2019, 2:37 pm
    Post #5 - January 5th, 2019, 2:37 pm Post #5 - January 5th, 2019, 2:37 pm
    I thought the Wood-Grilled Foie Gras and the Icelandic Cod were spectacular. We had no complaints about the service.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #6 - January 5th, 2019, 4:54 pm
    Post #6 - January 5th, 2019, 4:54 pm Post #6 - January 5th, 2019, 4:54 pm
    The Kona and the venison tartare were both quite nice, but the cod and the oyster pie were the standouts for me. Didn't care for my 40 day aged meat and sweetbreads, which I found both too lean and bland for my taste. Lobster skewed sweet (even for me). Pastas were simple (and w/truffles) so tough not to fuck up. While I liked most of it very much, didn't rock my world though.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #7 - February 16th, 2019, 4:03 pm
    Post #7 - February 16th, 2019, 4:03 pm Post #7 - February 16th, 2019, 4:03 pm
    Four of us enjoyed a stunning celebratory meal at Bellemore, highlight Oyster Pie, delicious, beautiful. Wonderful company, gorgeous room, overall tip-top dining experience.

    Had a chance to chat with chef Jimmy Papadopoulos, an engaging talented fellow, and our nephew who is on the line in the beautiful open kitchen. Tip of the hat to our server Fernando, his good humored professionalism contributing wonderfully to the experience.
    Bellemore, Count me a Fan!

    Bellemore1.jpg Oyster pie, Bellemore

    Bellemore2.jpg Michael Pfeiffer, Bellemore
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow