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    Post #1 - March 13th, 2011, 10:32 am
    Post #1 - March 13th, 2011, 10:32 am Post #1 - March 13th, 2011, 10:32 am
    Bistronomic

    Though I must say I was dubious about the “Baked Alaska” (scare quotes mandatory) at Bistronomic, Martial Noguier's new outpost (in the space of Troy Grave’s now defunct Eve) is a very pleasant room (dark and non-noisy, unlike many well-lit ear-splitters I’ve been to recently: Hubbard Inn, looking at you), serving pleasant if somewhat unadventurous Small, Medium and Large plates.

    Given the darkness of the room, most of my pix are too sucky to post, but we liked the cauliflower veloute and the country pate…and were knocked out by the beet salad, which I initially didn’t want to order because it seemed too pedestrian. The Wife persisted; I relented; it was superb.

    Image

    The beets, yellow and chiogga, were mixed with fellow root truffle, goat cheese, minty basil and (I believe) mache. This was a beautifully simple combination of flavors, and one I intend to duplicate next summer using beets and basil from my garden.

    I had one of the most spectacular meals in memory at Noguier's old Café des Architectes last week; unfortunately, I never ate there under Nougier’s reign and this place seems a clear departure from that kind of fine dining.

    On a different note, I was somewhat taken aback by the blinding chutzpah of serving sardines, still in the Roland can, simply opened at the table and served with bread. $11. I think a dish like this is hilarious, funny…and ballsy beyond words. In a way, this presentation represents current rethinking of food delivery systems: mason jars are becoming commonplace (we saw a lot of them at Hoyt’s for our first dinner of the evening), and from what I’ve heard about glassware at The Aviary, Achatz is not going to be content with serving drinks in anything as mundane as a glass.

    Bistronomic
    840 N. Wabash
    312.944.8400
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #2 - March 13th, 2011, 10:53 am
    Post #2 - March 13th, 2011, 10:53 am Post #2 - March 13th, 2011, 10:53 am
    David Hammond wrote:On a different note, I was somewhat taken aback by the blinding chutzpah of serving sardines, still in the Roland can, simply opened at the table and served with bread. $11. I think a dish like this is hilarious, funny…and ballsy beyond words. In a way, this presentation represents current rethinking of food delivery systems: mason jars are becoming commonplace (we saw a lot of them at Hoyt’s for our first dinner of the evening), and from what I’ve heard about glassware at The Aviary, Achatz is not going to be content with serving drinks in anything as mundane as a glass.


    Olives are also served by the jar (not Roland brand though and they're actually quite good). I also found this delivery system hilarious, heightened by the fact that Noguier himself came over to my table to . . . open the jar. I saw this less about rethinking food delivery systems, but more about adding a certain je-ne-sais-quoi casualness to the restaurant. (Besides, isn't there some bar is Spain that only serves food from a jar? Perhaps a nod to that "trend.")
  • Post #3 - March 13th, 2011, 12:52 pm
    Post #3 - March 13th, 2011, 12:52 pm Post #3 - March 13th, 2011, 12:52 pm
    I'd been holding off on writing about my meal at Bistronomic, party because I didn't want to start the thread, but mostly because I was rather underwhelmed. It was fine, okay...maybe even nice.

    The idea of a nominally French restaurant featuring American cheese was dissonant from the start, but the selection looked promising. Sadly, in implementation (we had the "less than 300 miles" flight) it was unexciting. You can easily find the equal of these cheeses (or better) at Whole Foods or Pastoral and there's nothing particularly noteworthy about their presentation here*. I started with the country pate and my wife had the cauliflower veloute. Both were thoughtful tweaks to classic dishes, but nothing worth going into detail over. Perhaps if I'd grown up with that pate I'd have found something special about it, but as it was I couldn't pick out what made Martial's mother's recipe better than that on offer at a dozen other places. I had to request additional bread because the thin, hard baguette croutons served with both the cheese and pate were not a successful conveyance for either. For mains, I had the short rib and she had the flat iron steak. The glaze on the short rib was bold with the cabbage (celery seed/vinegar) and orange peel both strong and not particularly balanced with no discernible bacon flavor to speak of. I actually quite liked the cabbage on its own, but as a part of the whole it was not successful. Both of the meats were of excellent quality (expectedly so at this price point), but again, nothing special. We skipped dessert as we had a show to attend.

    There was a minor hiccup in the wine service that was ultimately resolved to our satisfaction but I could see it being an awkward situation for someone with less wine knowledge. We initially ordered the Raffault Chinon, and I'm 99% sure the bottle was bad (rotten capers were the flavor that most came to mind). We asked for a different bottle, but the server insisted that she have it tasted by their "wine expert" first. She left for a few minutes and returned to inform us that he said our bottle was fine, and that this was a characteristic of wines from that region. Now, having recently spent a week in the Loire (including a stop in Chinon) I was rather sure of my conclusion, but never having had this particular bottle I decided to let it go and instead we asked for the Baudry Chinon. This wine was exactly what we were hoping for, so all's well that ends well, I guess.

    We were there only a week or two after they opened, and it seemed that there were a lot of friends and family of the chef in attendance that Sunday night (Chef Noguier was out in the dining room most of the evening, chatting in French with several tables). The room was relaxed and peaceful, but I left it without feeling like there was any compelling reason to return...

    *Perhaps this is simply another extension of the canned sardine ethic discussed above...

    ETA: The beet salad also caught me eye, and I'm sure it was delicious, but I refuse to reward the inclusion of truffle oil in any/everything these days.
  • Post #4 - March 13th, 2011, 1:46 pm
    Post #4 - March 13th, 2011, 1:46 pm Post #4 - March 13th, 2011, 1:46 pm
    kl1191 wrote:ETA: The beet salad also caught me eye, and I'm sure it was delicious, but I refuse to reward the inclusion of truffle oil in any/everything these days.


    Oh, I'm with you, it's a way overdone condiment, but when it works, it works.
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #5 - April 12th, 2011, 10:01 am
    Post #5 - April 12th, 2011, 10:01 am Post #5 - April 12th, 2011, 10:01 am
    Any new reviews/thoughts on this place? I plan on checking it out tonight but the menu is pretty large.
  • Post #6 - April 12th, 2011, 7:41 pm
    Post #6 - April 12th, 2011, 7:41 pm Post #6 - April 12th, 2011, 7:41 pm
    We ate at Bistronomic Saturday, April 2nd. I had a reservation for 2 people at 5:45. Friends wanted to join us so I called the restaurant at 11:30 that morning to see if we could increase our reservation. The young lady I spoke to on the phone said she would have to check into it and would call me back. Five minutes later she called back and said she could take us at 7 p.m. That was fine. However, when we got to the restaurant they couldn't find our reservation and basically made me feel like I was lying when I said I had a reservation. They wanted to know who I had spoken to but alas I didn't think to ask her name. Then they said they found the reservation but it was entered on Sunday. Then they said the would see if they could seat us. We thought they were about to tell us to leave. Finally, they said they could seat us. We were given one of the worst tables in the house and my husband was getting very upset about their treatment of us. He went and complained that this was the restaurant's fault and he didn't like the way we were being treated. To the credit of the chef's wife, who is the hostess, she kept apologizing and sent out a complimentary appetizer of their pate. She did move us to a different table next to the first table which was better. Not a great way to start a meal that I was really looking forward to.

    I had the Capriole Farm Herb Goat Cheese served warm with oven dried tomato, lemon confit, frisee salad. This was delicious spread on the toast it was served with. My husband had the caesar salad which is listed under the small plates. At $7 it was a rip off! He probably had 4 forkfulls of salad if that. Our friends shared the tuna tartar which is served in a very small mason jar with avocado puree on top at $11. Extremely tiny portion--especially at that price. It also was more avocado than tuna tartar.

    Two of us had the duck $23, one person the braised lamb shoulder and my husband had the filet which was $26. The waiter never asked him how he wanted his filet cooked. The duck was good-- what there was of it! Again, the portions were extremely small. We did not have dessert.

    The waiter took our dinner order and we never saw him again until he came with dessert menus. The restaurant is extremely loud and the tables are very close to each other. We can't believe this was picked as the Best New Restaurant of the Year by Chicago Magazine.
  • Post #7 - May 7th, 2011, 9:19 pm
    Post #7 - May 7th, 2011, 9:19 pm Post #7 - May 7th, 2011, 9:19 pm
    Went here for a friend's birthday on Thursday and...Oy...what to say...I have to agree that this restaurant didn't live up to Chicago Magazine's Best New Restaurant. Some dishes were amazing, some were only so-so, and others missed the mark entirely.

    Seared Scallops piperade / basil / nicoise olive
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    Scallops were...alright. They were smaller, and the foam didn't really add much.

    Black Mussels basil puree / brioche / piquillo pepper
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    Bland. I don't know how else to describe this dish. Probably our least favorite of the night.

    Ravioli of the Day celery root puree / parmesan / red wine sauce
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    And yet this was probably our favorite of the night. Everything worked well together.

    Savory Tartine
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    A special that changes daily and I forgot to write down what the elements were. Damn. It was sweet & salty, and I rather enjoyed it - others at my table didn't really care for it.

    Housemade Country Pate dijon mustard / cornichons / baguette croutons
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    I must admit, I'm a sucker for a good pate and this did not disappoint. pate+crouton+a little mustard (and a pickle on top) was heaven to me.

    Capriole Farm Plain Goat Cheese chioggia beet / nicoise olive / thyme / goat's milk
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    It's difficult to dislike this dish (I'm a huge cheese whore), yet this dish did nothing for me. Sure, the cheese tasted pretty fine, but the pairings were bland and I finished the dish with a frown on my face.

    Poisson du Jour
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    Only had a bite, so I have nothing to offer. I know that the snapped peas were substituted and that's about it.

    Pan Roasted Duck Magret sunchoke puree / orange segment / cilantro salad
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    Without the sunchoke puree, this dish is nothing special. Should have taken a picture from the opposite end to highlight the puree, but this wasn't my dish.

    Filet of Beef au Poivre puree of yukon gold potatoes / caramelized endives / cognac sauce
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    dish was pleasant. Nothing to brag about, nothing to complain about.

    Braised Lamb Shoulder dried fruit / saffron / couscous
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    Wow. This dish was fantastic. Lamb just fell apart, the couscous was well cooked, and the apple slices added a nice citrus taste on the back end. Definitely recommend.

    It was then time for dessert where Bistronomic truly shined

    Black and White Creme Brulee vanilla bean custard / turbinado sugar / bittersweet chocolate mousse
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    dish looks ugly but tastes amazing...

    Baked Alaska vanilla bean ice cream / toasted meringue / caramelized almonds
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    Amazing dessert. rich, creamy, and refreshing.

    We had one more dish, the Glazed Short Rib, which nobody enjoyed and I didn't get a picture of.

    I wouldn't classify Bistronomic as a bad restaurant...nor I would classify it as an amazing restaurant. I might go again, but I do agree this is overhyped as the best new restaurant.
    Last edited by incite on August 17th, 2011, 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #8 - May 11th, 2011, 11:04 am
    Post #8 - May 11th, 2011, 11:04 am Post #8 - May 11th, 2011, 11:04 am
    A friend joined me for dinner last night at bistronomic.

    After reading Phil Vittel's review, my friend was interested in trying the whole organic chicken. So, we decided that we'd try just a few other small plates, as a whole chicken was itself likely to be far too much food for us. I tend to favor several shared small plates over focusing on a large entree, but the menu seemed unexciting and there weren't many small plates that interested me.

    We started with the ravioli of the day, which featured braised lamb. (A strange choice in May, but it sounded good, and I was craving lamb after reading incite's report and then learning that bistronomic was out of that dish.) The ravioli dish was fine. I enjoyed it and the wine sauce was tasty, but I'm sure I'll have forgotten about the dish by next week.

    We also tried a pork belly special. The pork belly was a bit dry and the aged balsamic sauce wasn't particularly inspired. Just another pork belly dish, and not one I'll be thinking about later.

    The whole organic chicken was to be the star of the show. I don't know about you, but I think a WHOLE chicken should, at least, include two legs, two wings, two breasts, and two thighs. Our whole chicken included just two breasts and two thighs. This was still plenty of food, but I felt that the menu was deceptive. I asked the server about it, and he agreed that it wasn't in fact a whole chicken. The chicken was fine, but no better than something we'd throw together on a weekday night, and certainly not in the same league as the Publican's chicken.

    For anyone who's considering a visit, I'll note that the menu online is not the one they're currently using. Also, I noticed that the prices on some menu items are now higher than what's online. I again made the mistake of researching wine in advance so that I'd know what I'd want to order, only to realize that many of the more reasonable wines were marked up in excess of 300% of retail - - ouch. I satisfied myself with an $8 bottle of Matilda and then went to the Drawing Room for post-dinner drinks.

    I'm rarely in this neighborhood and just can't imagine ever returning to bistronomic. The word I keep coming back to is "fine." Nothing was bad, but nothing was memorable. Too bad.

    Ronna
  • Post #9 - May 11th, 2011, 11:10 am
    Post #9 - May 11th, 2011, 11:10 am Post #9 - May 11th, 2011, 11:10 am
    REB wrote:I again made the mistake of researching wine in advance so that I'd know what I'd want to order, only to realize that many of the more reasonable wines were marked up in excess of 300% of retail - - ouch.

    Ronna


    Their canned Roland sardines for $9 are, I'm guessing, more like a 400% mark-up...and represent perhaps less kitchen labor than opening and pouring a glass of wine.

    I have good wishes for Nougier, as he seems like a serious guy, but so far, I don't get it.
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #10 - May 11th, 2011, 11:17 am
    Post #10 - May 11th, 2011, 11:17 am Post #10 - May 11th, 2011, 11:17 am
    David Hammond wrote:
    REB wrote:I again made the mistake of researching wine in advance so that I'd know what I'd want to order, only to realize that many of the more reasonable wines were marked up in excess of 300% of retail - - ouch.

    Ronna


    Their canned Roland sardines for $9 are, I'm guessing, more like a 400% mark-up...and represent perhaps less kitchen labor than opening and pouring a glass of wine.

    I have good wishes for Nougier, as he seems like a serious guy, but so far, I don't get it.
    It's even worse - - the sardines on the online menu are $11!!

    Ronna
  • Post #11 - September 19th, 2011, 5:35 pm
    Post #11 - September 19th, 2011, 5:35 pm Post #11 - September 19th, 2011, 5:35 pm
    Went on Saturday w/ 2 friends. Overall experience was pretty good. While the food wasn't earth shattering, everything was "solid". I also loved the space (very cozy). I would go back and I advise to go for yourself and not rely strictly on the reviews...I feel some of them our unfair especially on the prices. While the sardines are $11, they came with unlimited bread and housemade butter. Afterall, those same Roland sardines are around $4 at some Whole Foods........ I feel the value is very good in fact

    We had............

    Sardines no fuss here. you know what your getting..bread, sardines, and butter. Got what I was promised.
    Charcuterie Plate - Large Sampler included 5 different salumis ( about 3 pieces of each) cornichon, mustard, micro greens.
    Seafood Soup Flavor was tomato based with fennel. Probably the least succedsful dish of the night but again I wouldn't complain to eat it again
    Oxtail Ravioli Surprisingly the actual pasta dough was slightly overcooked but the succulent filling more than made up for it
    Beet Salad One of my favorite dishes of the night. Simple but executed well. Big portion too!
    Mussels for $11 probably the best value of the night. Flavorful broth with hints of garlic and basil. Light but satisfying.
    Duck Breast Cooked well. Again no frills but executed well. Did not personally care for the squash puree it was served in. It was too sweet.
    Pork Belly Special of the night. Again a big portion and only $15. No complaints here
    Raspberry Sorbet If you love Raspberry sorbet- go here. Simply the best rendition I have every had. 3 lg. scoops for $8
    Baked Alaska Again, right on with the ice cream. This dessert was on the sweet side which isn't a bad thing but I personally would rather have a less sweet dessert.
    Almond Chocolate bars Real rich dessert by itself but there was an orange liquor sauce underneath that really cut the richness and evolved the dish to something totally different. I must say though I feel this is a must to share as I could not eat more than 1 or 2 bites.

    Total Damage ...$153 including spakling water and Coffee

    All in all I felt that Bistronomic delivers on what it trys to...simple French Country food prepared with care and in a easygoing atmosphere. This is not going to win any awards but it is a solid place in chicago that should be given a chance
  • Post #12 - November 18th, 2011, 9:57 am
    Post #12 - November 18th, 2011, 9:57 am Post #12 - November 18th, 2011, 9:57 am
    Perhaps excepting Sun Wah, I can't think of a local duck prep I've liked more than Bistronomic's seared breast with braised red cabbage. It's sort of a take on duck a l'orange, as the cabbage braising liquid is heavy on reduced orange juice and orange rind infusion. Studded with bacon and with no hint of the cloying sweetness that sometimes makes duck a'lorange unpleasant, it's a great dish. The presence of overly French sweet potato puree (ultra smooth, with little sweet potato flavor and a ridiculous amount of butter) was but a small detraction.

    Yesterday's ravioli special was less successful for me. The pasta was made well and stuffed with very flavorful braised veal, but the dish was texturally unpleasant. In my experience, meat fillings are typically blended with a little ricotta and grating cheese, so that the softer filling offers a nice contrast with the al dente pasta. In the Bistronomic case it seemed like straight up braised veal inside toothsome pasta: chew inside chew.

    Dessert was mediocre vanilla custard topped with very good chocolate mousse and then bruleed with turbinado sugar. Chocolate mousse alone or a decent creme brulee would have been better. The combo did nothing for me.

    Nice place, nice people, very good duck. I suspect I'll be back at some point.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #13 - December 28th, 2011, 11:53 am
    Post #13 - December 28th, 2011, 11:53 am Post #13 - December 28th, 2011, 11:53 am
    David Hammond wrote:
    kl1191 wrote:ETA: The beet salad also caught me eye, and I'm sure it was delicious, but I refuse to reward the inclusion of truffle oil in any/everything these days.


    Oh, I'm with you, it's a way overdone condiment, but when it works, it works.


    Another place it works: white truffle oil in the raw minced lamb at Spiaggia.

    Image

    Because Spiaggia focuses on white truffle in their tasting menu, I'm guessing they have a lot of this fungus around, and so this oil, the essence of soil, was pure tasting, without the motor-oil yuckiness of cheaper versions, This was probably the best thing I had for dinner there.
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #14 - October 6th, 2020, 2:52 pm
    Post #14 - October 6th, 2020, 2:52 pm Post #14 - October 6th, 2020, 2:52 pm
    Bistronomic expands into Loyola University space

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavi ... story.html
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard

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