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Vie - Blackbird lite? Even Better! [edited]

Vie - Blackbird lite? Even Better! [edited]
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  • Post #151 - March 27th, 2010, 12:40 pm
    Post #151 - March 27th, 2010, 12:40 pm Post #151 - March 27th, 2010, 12:40 pm
    We also tried out the Chicago Chef week menu. Standouts were the chicken Milanese, with an unbelievably flavorful crispy crust, and the very rich warm gooey butter cake. I instantly set my sights on the Bourbon County Manhattan with homemade Bourbon County Stout jam and Klug Farm cherries. It stands as one of the finest Manhattans I've had, with the BCS adding a nice sweetness and a hint of vanilla.

    I wouldn't hesitate to go back to Vie.
  • Post #152 - March 29th, 2010, 4:41 pm
    Post #152 - March 29th, 2010, 4:41 pm Post #152 - March 29th, 2010, 4:41 pm
    I took my friends to Vie for the special Chef's menu. Two of them had never been to Vie before and I thought this might be a good way to introduce them. One of them ended up looking at the regular menu and couldn't resist ordering off of that instead. Of course, everyone was blown away by the food. I had the chicken milanese and it really is amazing how they can take such a simple dish and raise it to gourmet statis. My husband decided this was the night to try the burger. He declared it best burger he's ever had. He had the scallops for an appetizer and was practically licking the plate. Where else can you eat like that? Not many places out here in the burbs. I agree, that Manhattan is outstanding!
  • Post #153 - May 10th, 2010, 2:06 pm
    Post #153 - May 10th, 2010, 2:06 pm Post #153 - May 10th, 2010, 2:06 pm
    Was back at Vie about 10 days ago for another sensational meal. We decided that everyone of the 8 appetizers on the menu was too tempting to pass up. So, the four of us ordered all 8, along with a couple of entrees, both the featured weekend sides and a trio of desserts. As you will see, the kitchen also sent out a few other items for us. I'm kind of adjectived out when it comes to Vie -- not sure how I can praise it more than I already have -- so for most of these dishes, I'll just let the pics speak for themselves. Really, though, everything was even better than it looked . . .

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    Cocktails | Death's Door Gin Rickey, Jack Portmore
    DDGR: Death's Door Gin, House-made Ginger Liqueur, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Lime Juice, Ginger Ale
    JP: Coconut Jack Rum, House-made Ginger Liqueur, Pellegrino Lemoncello, Ron Zacapa 23-year Aged Rum, Lime and Orange Juices
    I thoroughly enjoyed both these cocktails. What I especially loved about the Jack Portmore was that it wasn't overly sweet but still very 'tropical.' You could drink a few of these without getting overwhelmed by with sweetness. Also, it's pretty rare to find a cocktail which uses the Zacapa (one of my favorite rums), so this was a real treat. Bartender Mike Page is a genuine master and even though the spirit selection at Vie is relatively small, it's mighty by any measure of quality.


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    Amuse | wood-grilled shrimp, pickled fennel, salsa verde


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    Seared Mid-Atlantic Sea Scallops | sweet peas, roasted Werp Farm radishes, creme fraiche, local onion puree, mint


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    House-salted Whitefish Fritters | picked herbs, shaved onions, smoked paprika aioli


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    Crispy Parisienne Gnocchi | sweet peas, Abra's buttered ramps, fines herbs


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    Gunthorp Farm Duck Confit Tart | preserved prunes, arugula, cipollini onion caramel


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    House-recipe beer | La Vie d'une Oie
    Several of Vie's chefs designed this beer with Goose Island, where it was brewed. It's a stout-like wheat brew with a savory complexity that went very well with the duck dish (and a couple others).


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    Caesar Salad
    This was sent out by the kitchen in tasting portions. This was pretty much the best rendition of a caesar I've ever had. It was very anchovy-heavy and the dressing incorporated some house-made worcestershire sauce. Just an explosively awesome salad.


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    Nathan's Charcuterie Plate | coppa, mortadella and pork liver terrine | mustard greens with red wine vinaigrette, grape mostarda, preserved cranberries
    Nathan Sears thwapping down the charcuterie gauntlet once again. All the items on this plate -- all made in-house -- were excellent, with the pork liver terrine being my favorite this time around.


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    Wood-Grilled Octopus | spicy greens, preserved tomatoes, braised Werp Farm fennel


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    Poached Farm Egg | butter-fried smoked ham steak, Klug Farm asparagus


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    Roasted Local Morels | bone marrow, green garlic, parsley and pickled garlic
    Definitely the best morel preparation I've ever had. The melty-rich marrow, combined with the earthy meatiness of the morels was spectacular.


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    Dietzler Beef Duo (not on menu) | deckle tartare, house-made knackwurst, fines herbs sabayon and house-made cracker
    The kitchen sent this out for us and I'm very glad they did. The knackwurst, made by Nathan Sears, was exemplary and the deckle tartare was extraordinarily beefy and rich. Even the 'sabayon,' made on the fly by chef Virant was special. I'd never had deckle in this form before and was grateful for the opportunity, especially in these skilled hands. I ate mine and then I ate most of one my companions', who was getting full.


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    Wood-Grilled Snake River Sturgeon | Three Sisters hominy, Tuscan kale, truffle mayonnaise, spring peas and pickled shallots
    So juicy, meaty and tender, it reminded more of pork than fish.


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    Slow-Roasted Cedar Valley Pork Belly | smashed local potatoes, braised housemade gardiniera, pork sausage and spring onion gravy
    Oh. My. God.


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    Weekend Side: Teresa's Nettles | pork and parmesan broth, pickled padron peppers
    These padrons really (and somewhat surprisingly) packed a punch.


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    Weekend Side: Creamy Ted's Polenta | crispy Irish bacon


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    Intermezzo | white wine sorbet


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    Warm Spence Farm Rhubarb Galette | pink peppercorn ice cream, balsamic and Hum reduction


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    Deep-fried Bread Pudding | Burton's Maple Mousse, maple tuille
    I was told that the concept for this dish was inspired by chef Chris Pandel at The Bristol. As full as we were by this point in the meal, it was nearly impossible to stop eating it.


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    Warm Gooey Butter Cake | Heritage Prairie honey ice cream, "honeycomb" honey caramel sauce


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    The Wreckage
    The incomparable Thierry, our server -- and Vie's skilled wine manager -- put together pairings for us over the course of our entire meal. We did as good a job as we could keeping up but in the end, the stems won out. :D


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    Mignardise

    Not really sure what to add here other than to say that I'm headed back to Vie this week and can hardly wait. I walk into the place like a kid on Christmas and walk out already scheming -- and dreaming about -- my next visit. I think that if a couple weeks go by and I don't get to Vie, I'm very likely to miss out on something special. There are so few places about which I feel this way.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #154 - May 10th, 2010, 2:22 pm
    Post #154 - May 10th, 2010, 2:22 pm Post #154 - May 10th, 2010, 2:22 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Was back at Vie about 10 days ago for another sensational meal. We decided that everyone of the 8 appetizers on the menu was too tempting to pass up. So, the four of us ordered all 8, along with a couple of entrees, both the featured weekend sides and a trio of desserts. As you will see, the kitchen also sent out a few other items for us. I'm kind of adjectived out when it comes to Vie -- not sure how I can praise it more than I already have -- so for most of these dishes, I'll just let the pics speak for themselves. Really, though, everything was even better than it looked . . .

    <snip>

    Not really sure what to add here other than to say that I'm headed back to Vie this week and can hardly wait. I walk into the place like a kid on Christmas and walk out already scheming -- and dreaming about -- my next visit. I think that if a couple weeks go by and I don't get to Vie, I'm very likely to miss out on something special. There are so few places about which I feel this way.

    =R=

    Any time you need an extra mouth to help out with a project like this (eating every appetizer on the menu--my favorite way to order!!), just say the word :mrgreen:

    Gorgeous pics!! I am humbled to say that I've not yet made it to Vie and am now determined to make the trip!!!

    thanks for the inspirational post!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #155 - May 10th, 2010, 5:37 pm
    Post #155 - May 10th, 2010, 5:37 pm Post #155 - May 10th, 2010, 5:37 pm
    boudreaulicious wrote:Any time you need an extra mouth to help out with a project like this (eating every appetizer on the menu--my favorite way to order!!), just say the word :mrgreen:

    Gorgeous pics!! I am humbled to say that I've not yet made it to Vie and am now determined to make the trip!!!

    thanks for the inspirational post!

    Thanks, for the kind comments about the shots. Believe me, it was my pleasure. :)

    Vie doesn't offer a tasting menu per se but in the past the kitchen has offered to put one together for us should we ever want one -- and that's normally how we order. However, in this case all the appetizers looked so tempting, we couldn't decide which ones to order . . . so, we ordered them all. The last thing we wanted -- especially since we were there with friends who'd never been there before -- was to experience diner's remorse. :D The only downside to this was that we knew we'd have to go light on the entrees. But, the 2 we did order were both sensational. I'm still thinking about both of them: that unctuous, sticky pork belly with the rich sausage gravy was over the top insane. The sturgeon was equally delectable. The combination of that succulent fish with the peas, kale and truffle was entirely intoxicating.

    Luckily, I'm headed back there this week and with 6 in the party this time around, we should be able to again try a good bunch of dishes.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #156 - May 11th, 2010, 7:48 am
    Post #156 - May 11th, 2010, 7:48 am Post #156 - May 11th, 2010, 7:48 am
    Was at Vie recently and also had the aforementioned sturgeon and morel dishes, which were outstanding. We also loved the "roasted white asparagus, with candied m&m ranch blood oranges, ricotta, arugula, spanish olive oil." While the candied blood oranges really make the dish, all the ingredients in the medley work in concert to make it a lovely appetizer.

    We had an awesome meal at Vie, but I will point out something that has happened on both of my only two visits there: While I find the wait staff to be attentive and very nice, on both occasions, I've found our server to not be 100% familiar with the menu in a way that I would expect from a restaurant of this caliber. On the first visit well over a year ago, our server referred to the "sea bream" as "sea bass" and really did not have much to say when we asked what a couple stand-outs on the menu might be. Now, I know this all boils down to personal preference, but the overall feeling we got was that she did not have a real command of the menu. On this latest visit, we asked for more information about the featured beer, to which our server responded that he wasn't really sure, that he doesn't drink beer -- so then we gently asked if he could ask someone else for more information (I didn't know if we wanted to commit to the featured beer b/c it came in a large bottle, and I didn't know if I wanted that much beer unless it was really special)-- so then he went to ask the bartender, which I think was the right thing to do.

    In any event, it was a great meal and the service was certainly quite good... this is just a little observation I've had both times....
  • Post #157 - May 11th, 2010, 9:16 am
    Post #157 - May 11th, 2010, 9:16 am Post #157 - May 11th, 2010, 9:16 am
    not that i know anything about the operations of the place, but i suspect the location of Vie prevents it from hiring "top caliber" service staff. just a guess.
  • Post #158 - May 16th, 2010, 12:32 pm
    Post #158 - May 16th, 2010, 12:32 pm Post #158 - May 16th, 2010, 12:32 pm
    We went to see Ragtime out at Drury Lane last night and we used the trip out west to make our first visit to Vie. All I can say is that it's a good thing this place is in Western Springs, because if it were in the city I'd be dropping a significant percentage of my income here. Wow, was I impressed.

    We started with Nathan's charcuterie plate and a soft shell crab appetizer. The charcuterie plate was unbelievable, especially the mortadella. I had a charcuterie plate at Old Town Social on Friday night that I very much enjoyed, but Vie's was at least a couple of notches better (I thought Old Town Social's plate faltered a little bit due to the serving temperatures of several of the meats...just too cold, covering up the flavors and messing with textures). The soft shell crab was served with yellow beets and marcona almonds, which created a really interesting flavor combination.

    For main courses, I had the duo of beef (grilled ribeye and housemade knackworst). The ribeye was served a dead on perfect medium rare and had a nice intensely beefy flavor. The knackworst provided a strongly spiced counterpoint that I really enjoyed. The plate was scattered with braised ramps and mustard greens that turned it into a fresh tasting, spring dish. The wife ordered the pike, which they were out of, so she got the same preparation with a substitution of halibut. From my bites, the fish was perfectly cooked. The hush puppies that came with the fish were nicely fried, but a little sweet for my tastes.

    We finished by splitting the warm gooey butter cake, which was as good as advertised.

    Service-wise we thought it was a little bit of a mixed bag. Our main server, Erin, did a fantastic job. She was engaging and seemed to have a pretty thorough knowledge of the menu. She also recommended a nice glass of wine to go with my beef. The problem is that the runners who were bringing out the food knew absolutely nothing. After we ordered our meals, we were hit by an amuse bouche hit-and-run. Little bites placed in front of us, followed by a quick escape by the runner who muttered "sorry" under his breath. Fortunately the table next to us told us that we were just served smoked sturgeon (I think). The other couple was doing a tasting menu and were getting the same treatment with every course. Lengthy dish descriptions provided by their runner included "fish" and "beef".

    Service issues notwithstanding, I very much enjoyed my first trip to Vie, and will hopefully be making many, many return trips.

    PS - Are the cocktails usually really strong? I had a "Bourbon County Manhattan" that absolutely knocked me on my ass (the wife was driving). Strong drink, or was I just being a lightweight?
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #159 - May 16th, 2010, 12:59 pm
    Post #159 - May 16th, 2010, 12:59 pm Post #159 - May 16th, 2010, 12:59 pm
    jesteinf wrote:PS - Are the cocktails usually really strong? I had a "Bourbon County Manhattan" that absolutely knocked me on my ass (the wife was driving). Strong drink, or was I just being a lightweight?


    We went for their Earth Week menu late last month ($35 pp, a steal), and the house dirty martini (made each week with a different vegetable and pickling liquid) was as strong a mixed drink as I'd ever been served. This did not lessen my enjoyment of the meal, which was excellent: seared whitefish with whole spices, chicken fried steak (!), grilled baby octopus with preserved lemon, salad with pickled ramps, panna cotta with the 2010 ubiquitous yet delicious strawberries ("Florida's loss is our gain!")

    The one issue was that we were five minutes early for our 7:45 reservation, and were not seated until 8:30. That was a long time to wait standing, compounded by the fact that the hostesses said we could wait "in the bar," without checking to see that there were no seats in the bar, and that the manager did not want standers in that area. However, he brought us champagne and comped an appetizer (and let us use the a la card discount, and then gave us the card back and asked us to return again). They made up for it, but you never expect that kind of delay at a sleek operation like Vie. But that level of corrective service and the sheer quality of the food will have me back in a heartbeat.
  • Post #160 - May 17th, 2010, 7:22 pm
    Post #160 - May 17th, 2010, 7:22 pm Post #160 - May 17th, 2010, 7:22 pm
    Had another great meal last weekend at Vie. Having just been there 2 weeks ago, I would have been happy to have the exact same meal I had then. Instead, it seemed as if the kitchen made a point of changing things up and challenging themselves to not repeat anything. Of course, we didn't let that happen easily because in ordering the 8-course chefs' tasting menu, we did request a few specific dishes. But even with those obstacles thrown in there, the kitchen managed to fill this meal with as many delightful surprises as they did on the previous visit. Again, we started out with some great libations (just love that Jack Portmore pictured above), created by barmaster Mike Page. After that, we tarried to our table . . .

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    Amuse | Hiramasa crudo with basil pesto, pickled Spence Farm cattail shoots and chive blossoms
    First time for cattails, as far as I can remember. A great, meaty piece of (cured?) fish.


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    Nathan's Charcuterie Plate | country pate, mortadella, beef summer sausage, mustard greens with red wine vinaigrette, grape mostarda, preserved cranberries
    Great stuff yet again, with the highlight being the country pate. Very generously, the kitchen sent us home with a huge portion of house-made braunschweiger, which very well could have surpassed all these items. In short, Nathan is a full-fledged 'charcuting' bad-ass. :D


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    Pan-Fried Soft Shell Crab | marcona almond and garlic puree, Werp Farm golden beets, almond vinaigrette
    Really excellent combination of flavors and textures. Loved the rich, plump and crispy crab. The whole marcona almonds were a great addition.


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    Wood-Grilled Tuna | fried pickled jalapenos, meyer lemon emulsion, hakuri turnips, easter egg radishes
    Another surprising and yet wholly successful cominbation and that jalapeno was hot!


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    Warm Spinach and Creme Fraiche Flan | crispy lardo, wood-grilled scallions, wilted spinach
    Any salad which is coated in pork fat is my kind of salad but for me, the highlight of this dish was the flan, which was rich, delicate and delectable.


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    Ancho Chiles | dried and smoked in-house
    In chatting about how the jalapenos in the tuna dish were prepared, Nathan mentioned that they'd also made their own ancho chiles in-house. Of course, this intrigued us (food geeks!) and shortly thereafter, anchos were brought to the table for all of us to take home. Score!


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    Slow-Roasted Gunthorp Farm Pork Belly | braised ramps, ramp marmalade, pork sausage and spring onion gravy
    The rich, sticky pork belly is in there somewhere; trust me! :wink:


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    Dietzler Farm Beef Combination | wood-grilled ribeye, smoked tenderloin, crispy pickled tongue, bone marrow, smashed local potatoes, spring garlic, local morels
    Here, the beef combination was further combined with the morel dish, which we'd requested. For me, the unifying element was the crispy pickled tongue, which was indescribably delicious.


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    Prairie Fruits Farm Ewe Bloom sheep's milk cheese | Wisconsin morel and Oriana's black walnut conserva, toast
    Fun-ky and delicious! The conserva was an appropriately hardcore accompaniment to this super distinctive portion of cheese.

    <White Wine Sorbet, not pictured, see above>

    Next, a gaggle of desserts were sent to the table and we shared them all . . .

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    Oriana's Orchard Black Walnut Cake | brown butter ice cream, cocoa nib crumble, chocolate nougat
    Really glad I got to try this and the textures were fantastic but I'm not sure I'm that big a fan of black walnuts. They are incredibly distinctive and have a strong, almost cheese-like quality. I think it'll take a bit more indoctrination before I start to crave them.


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    Warm Spence Farm Rhubarb Galette | pink peppercorn ice cream, balsamic and Hum reduction
    Even though rhubarb is not a personal favorite, I loved the way it was used in this dessert, which came together very nicely.


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    Warm Gooey Butter Cake | Heritage Prairie Honey ice cream, 'honeycomb,' honey caramel sauce
    The ultimate trump card dessert at Vie. It was painful to share this one! :wink:


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    Dark Chocolate Marquise | Klug Farm brandied cherries, vanilla anglaise and cocoa nib tuile
    Oy . . . just kill me now. I loved every element of this dessert, especially the way the cherries and chocolate worked together.


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    Deep-Fried Bread Pudding | Burton's maple mousse, maple tuile
    Action shot! :D


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    Sprechers Root Beer Float | housemade vanilla ice cream
    Not on the menu, the kitchen sent this one out -- with 5 straws -- "just for fun."


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    Mignardise
    Lemony cookies and a brittle (iirc), but I cannot remember the details because the food coma had already set in. :D

    Service was excellent, as Erin took great care of us. She's knowledgeable, extremely friendly and quite obviously, a huge fan of Vie's food. Regarding not always knowing what's being brought to the table (an issue raised by other posters above), I generally ask to keep a copy of the menu at the table, just so I can follow along throughout the meal but I cannot remember a time at Vie when the person bringing the food to our table didn't fully identify it for us.

    While we were at the bar having drinks before dinner, I ran into a friend/business associate who lives about a half-block away from Vie. Man, was I jealous. If I lived that close, I'd be there once a week, minimum. For now, though, once or twice a month will have to suffice. :wink:

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #161 - July 6th, 2010, 1:27 pm
    Post #161 - July 6th, 2010, 1:27 pm Post #161 - July 6th, 2010, 1:27 pm
    Enjoyed a great meal at Vie over the weekend. Ronna and I took her mom for the Second Annual Mom's Birthday Dinner at Vie. She liked it so much last year, she wanted to do it again. She liked it so much this year, she declared it a new tradition.

    As has become our (nearly) standard practice at Vie, we created our own tasting menu, mostly by ordering every appetizer on the menu.

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    Amuse - Hawaiian Red Snapper - bush basil, mustard saffron vinaigrette
    A delicious bite to start. Basil was mild, and the tangy vinaigrette really complimented the fish.

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    Squash Blossoms - fava bean puree, housemade ricotta, pickled garlic, lemon olive oil
    The squash blossoms were fried hard, very crispy and greaseless, but served mainly as a vehicle for the real stars of the dish, the super creamy fava puree and lemony ricotta.

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    Blueberry and Roasted Beet Salad - Prairie Fruits chevre, pickled blueberry vinaigrette, flowering dill
    Fresh blueberries and perfectly roasted beets, with the surprising contrast of last year's blueberries, which had been dehydrated and then dill pickled. The shriveled berries packed a seriously tart and dilly punch. Nice combination.

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    Wood-grilled Porcini Salad - fava beans, roasted carrots, crispy country ham, cepa vieja
    When folks talk about mushrooms as tasting meaty, this is what they are talking about. The wood grilling really enhance the flavor and texture of the shrooms and the meaty little nibs of ham added great crunch.

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    Smoked Trout Fritters - horseradish mayo, iceberg lettuce, radishes, turnips, lemon balm
    Fritters were crispy on the outside, creamy and smoky on the inside. I generally turn my nose up at iceberg, but it was perfect in this application.

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    Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab - tomato jam, pickled tomato remoulade, capers, roasted vidalia onions, arugula
    I don't think there is any restaurant that does soft shell crab better than Vie. This dish was no exception. Mom is generally a bit afraid of soft shells, but eagerly finished her share in this case.

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    Wood-grilled Walleye Pike - fried Tuscan kale, City Farm orach, picled romanesco, "bearnaise" vinnaigrette
    Deliciously vinegary piece of fish, bitter kale, and orach? Orach tasted much like spinach and added little to the dish, but nice to try a new (to me) ingredient.

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    Crispy Semolina Gnocci - pork shoulder confit, olives, spring onions, pecorino
    Probably the best bite of the night. The creamy block of gnocci could have been called polenta and I wouldn't have argued. Either way, an amazing combination of creamy, chewy textures and bright flavors. Don't miss this dish if you see it or a variation on Vie's menu.

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    Pork Meatballs and Deep Fried Cheese Curds
    This was the only complete miss of the night. Meatballs were tough, and curds were simply tossed in the fryer and crisped. I'm sure that I could make this at home, but wouldn't bother. We ate it anyway.

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    Pan-fried Lamb Sausage - roasted cauliflower, lamb's quarter, pickled cherries, sour cherry jam
    Juicy lamb sausage didn't pair quite that well with the cherries two ways. My companions were feeling a bit food fatigued at this point, so I ate most of this by myself.

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    Slow-roasted Fresh Bacon - balsamic grilled onions, wilted mustard greens, currant mostarda
    We missed the word "fresh" in the description when ordering. This was pork belly, not bacon, but it was fatty and delicious. Currant mostarda was really currant preserves with mustard seeds. I quibble with the descriptions, but this was a very good, well-composed dish.

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    Roasted Rabbit Ballotine - crispy spaetzle, royal trumpet and porcini mushroom ragout, snow peas, rabbit jus
    The other contender for dish of the night, and the only entree portion that we ordered. This was a rabbit loin, stuffed with rabbit sausage, rolled, cooked sous vide, and then finished in the oven. The loin was moist, and the sausage was finely ground, delicately seasoned, and just about perfect.

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    Raspberry Pavlova
    Our feast had left us with little room for desert, so we ordered the pavlova and 3 spoons. I'm glad that we did, because this was the perfect I'm-full-but-I-can't-help-myself dessert. Light, chewy meringue, airy custard, and bright, tart raspberry.

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    Mignardises - Raspberry Shortbread Sandwiches
    Okay. One more bite. Twist my arm.

    Vie hasn't failed us yet, and I get more and more convinced each time that our "appetizer tasting menu" method is the best way to fully appreciate this place. I love our new tradition.

    --Rich
    I don't know what you think about dinner, but there must be a relation between the breakfast and the happiness. --Cemal Süreyya
  • Post #162 - July 6th, 2010, 2:15 pm
    Post #162 - July 6th, 2010, 2:15 pm Post #162 - July 6th, 2010, 2:15 pm
    RAB wrote:Enjoyed a great meal at Vie over the weekend . . .

    Beatitful shots, Rich, of what looks like a stellar meal. We were at Vie last week too and other than the (I agree, fantastic) pavlova, I don't think we had one dish on our progression that was also in yours. That's really a testament to the creativity and energy in that kitchen.

    Thanks, for the great shots and post.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #163 - July 7th, 2010, 10:02 pm
    Post #163 - July 7th, 2010, 10:02 pm Post #163 - July 7th, 2010, 10:02 pm
    RAB wrote:
    Image
    Squash Blossoms - fava bean puree, housemade ricotta, pickled garlic, lemon olive oil
    The squash blossoms were fried hard, very crispy and greaseless, but served mainly as a vehicle for the real stars of the dish, the super creamy fava puree and lemony ricotta.


    Beautiful pix, Rich. I've concluded that the allure of squash blossoms is largely vehicular -- they bring very little flavor, but they look great and as long as they're stuffed with something tasty, we like.
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #164 - July 8th, 2010, 5:24 am
    Post #164 - July 8th, 2010, 5:24 am Post #164 - July 8th, 2010, 5:24 am
    I like 'em stuffed, but the best squash flowers I've ever had were chopped, sauteed in butter and served with a little melted queso between 2 fresh corn tortillas at the Saturday Bazaar in Mexico City. The flowers were definitely the star, and they tasted quite - well - floral. The taste is distinct but subtle, and I don't like Vie's approach of putting so many ingredients on the plate with them, especially including one as strong as pickled garlic.

    Quesadilla de Flor, Bazar Sábado in Mexico City:
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    ...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 #165 - August 8th, 2010, 3:50 pm
    Post #165 - August 8th, 2010, 3:50 pm Post #165 - August 8th, 2010, 3:50 pm
    Made a last-minute decision to head down to Vie last night and grab dinner. The missus and I sat at the bar and had another spectacular meal . . .

    We started with a grilled scallop amuse, that was topped with a seasonal fruit chutney. Very delicious (sorry, for the poor description and lack of picture)

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    Harissa-marinated and wood-grilled Zucchini | City Farm fresh garlic and Parmigiano Reggiano cream
    Not sure why this was calling to me but it was, so we ordered it. It was fantastic. The highlight for me was the garlic and Reggiano cream, which was explosive with flavor. It had an ever so slight sweetness that worked very well with the bitterness of the greens. We sopped up the cream with house-baked bread until the plate was clean.


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    Ricotta-stuffed and fried Nichols Farm Squash Blossoms | crispy ham, summer squashes, braised Nichols Farm cranberry beans
    Great flavor and texture interplay here and what was interesting was the overall substantialness of the dish. The beans, cheese and ham combined to make this appetizer almost entree-like. I can't recall ever having squash blossoms in this type of a preparation but I really enjoyed this take.


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    Gunthorp Farm Chicken Two Ways: Country-Fried Breast and Crispy Scrapple | grilled melrose pepper, summer beans, cream corn
    The kitchen sent this out for us and I'm very glad they did. We were extremely curious about the scrapple (right) and it was excellent. But the rest of the dish was awesome, as well. The garnish of crispy chicken skin laid across the top of the dish was a wonderfully excessive and inspired treat.


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    Fried Fest! | duck egg, russian banana fingerling homefries, black kale, sweet onions, warm mustard duck vinaigrette
    I'm a sucker for press release dishes. If I get a press release about a dish, I cannot help but order it. So, even though I wasn't entirely sure about the wisdom of ordering this dish, I felt compelled to do so because I'd seen it mentioned in a press release earlier in the week. In the wrong hands, a plate full of fried food could play out as nothing more than a cheap parlor trick but at Vie, there's no danger of that happening. At its core, the combination of a sunnyside up duck egg, delicately crispy onions, earthy kale and crispy potatoes was truly inspired. The components all worked very well together and the vinaigrette, combined with the egg yolk, had us virtually licking this plate clean. A lot of fun, but excellent and thoughtful in and of itself.


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    Nathan's Charcuterie Plate: summer sausage, coppa and country pate | baby mustard greens with mustard vinaigrette, rhubarb mostarda, preserved cranberries
    I never go to Vie without ordering the charcuterie plate and this may have been my favorite incarnation of all. The coppa was the best I'd ever had at Vie (and that's really saying something because it's always excellent). The summer sausage was textbook, with a fantastic, profound flavor and perfect definition. The country pate, actually made by Paul Virant, had a smokey-cured note, which was really tasty and distinctive. I noticed it right away and when I asked chef Virant about it at the end of our meal, he told me that he used bacon in the pate because he'd run out of fat back. Nice audible, chef!


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    Pan-roasted Alaskan Halibut | buttered Carolina gold rice, braised tropea onions, housemade mortadella, roasted fennel, organic creme fraiche, Italian parsley
    The kitchen sent this out for us, divided into 2 half portions. The fish was immaculate and perfectly cooked with a lightly crusty exterior and supremely moist and flakey interior. The mortadella provided a very nice accent. I'm not exactly sure about the type of fish here because on the menu this preparation is listed as being served with fluke but I'm almost certain our server said "halibut" and it seemed like halibut.


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    Bourbon and Berries | Buffalo Trace bourbon, housemade lemonade, chartreuse, muddled and macerated tarragon and Klug Farm raspberries, Chateau Monet framboise
    Mixologist extraordinaire Mike Page provided us with a wee taste of his latest bourbon-powered concoction. Man, was this excellent. You could smell the bourbon up front and taste it all the way through. I am not normally a fan of fresh fruit in my cocktails but this one had me rethinking that position and wishing that I weren't taking the night off from drinking.


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    Dry-Aged Dietzler Farm combination: Wood-grilled ribeye and housemade Garlic Sausage | slow-roasted bone marrow and local onion puree, wilted swiss chard, braised carrots
    Stellar conception and execution across the board on this phenomenal dish. Everything was fantastic, with perfectly cooked steak and garlic sausage that was through the roof -- explosive flavor and perfect definition (a recurring theme at Vie). I could not believe the marrow and local onion puree, which was heaven-sent. Who even thinks of something like this? Amazing.


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    Chilled Sweet Corn Soup | wood-grilled and marinated Laughing Bird shrimp, corn relish
    Not only was this chilled soup wonderfully balanced, with sweet and savory corn notes but the stars of the dish for me were the other components. The smokey, perfectly-taut wood-grilled shrimp was sensational and the pickled corn relish foiled the creaminess of the soup wonderfully.


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    Berry Jam Sorbet
    Cannot remember the exact details of this intermezzo but there was a deep sweetness, which was imparted by the fact that it had been made with jam. Still, there was a nice balance of acidity to it and it worked well to bridge between dinner and dessert.


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    Coffee | coffee ice cream wih toffee pieces, espresso malt caramel, double chocolate chip ice cream, warm brownie
    I'm not going to lie. I miss Vie's former pastry chef Tood Feitl a lot. But the stellar creations from Rochelle DuBridge, their new pastry chef, are helping me get over his departure. It's just about impossible for me to choose a favorite from the 3 desserts we had last night but the fact that this one is even in contention says a lot because I am usually not a huge fan of chocolate or coffee desserts. Still, this absolutely blew me away. The intensity of flavors here was astonishing and combined, the components were so much more than the sum of their parts. I just could not believe how good this was.


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    Swirled Peach Preserve Cake | cherry semifreddo, warm peach consomme, fresh peaches, phyllo frizzle
    If the theme of our meal was explosive flavors, this dessert may have exemplified it more than any other dish we had. The cherry semifreddo just popped the minute it hit my palate. The distinctive, aromatic peach note was also very pronounced in several different elements here. Magically, this was summer on a plate. The kitchen sent this one out for us and I'm glad they did because I would have missed it, otherwise.


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    Warm Berry and Peach Crisp | brown sugar cornmeal streusel, brown butter custard, triple vanilla ice cream, almond thumbprint cookies
    I loved this crisp and the custard was indescribably rich. But the thumbprint cookies were the absolute best I'd ever had. We were so full, we couldn't come close to finishing any of these desserts (or the beef entree) but I made sure to take home the uneaten cookie. There was no way I wasn't going to eat it!

    There's a palpable, undeniable energy at Vie that I just don't find at many other places. It seems that everyone there is in love with food, good food. While she didn't wait on us last night, Maureen (one of our favorite servers) sent us home with a piece of pineapple upside down cake that she'd made (with agave syrup) and brought in for staff meal. That's how deep the love is at Vie. Needless to say -- though, I'll say it anyway -- the cake was utterly delicious.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #166 - August 8th, 2010, 4:00 pm
    Post #166 - August 8th, 2010, 4:00 pm Post #166 - August 8th, 2010, 4:00 pm
    We went to Vie last night for our 27th wedding anniversary. Wonderful as the first time, great place -- a gem to have outside of downtown.
    (Unsurprisingly, ran into Ronnie Suburban on our way out)

    Amuse:
    Hamachi crudo with preserved plum relish: I thought I tasted smoke in this, the server was baffled by that thought. But the salty-sweet-sour relish worked wonderfully over the yellowtail. And I got two, since MrsF doesn't eat finfish.

    Starters:
    Squash blossoms stuffed with ricotta, with sauteed summer squash and braised beans. Perfectly crisp and creamy.
    Gnocchi with sun-dried tomatoes, olives and feta. Perfectly soft dumplings (longer lozenges than you'll find elsewhere, but perfect texture)

    Entrees:
    Chicken 2-ways: Country-fried breast and crispy scrapple. Both had a deep poultry flavor missing from 99% of the chicken served in this country. Accompanied by a corn relish, very tasty.
    Beef 2-ways: A grilled piece whose cut I've forgotten (and I'm too lazy to look at the online menu) and housemade garlic sausage. The sausage was very good, but not earth-shattering, but the grilled piece in the bone marrow and onion sauce was heaven. I wanted a to-go tub of the bone marrow sauce and a loaf of crusty bread.

    Side:
    Grilled baby corn with a cilantro-chile sauce. Tasty mini sweet corns cobs, with a sauce that walked the border line between Indian and Southwest.

    Desert:
    S'mores: Wow! Graham tart filled with housemade marshmallow and chocolate mousse. Spoiled for hershey bars and stay-puft.
    Gooey Butter Cake: Very buttery cake with blueberry compote, fresh blueberries and blueberry buttermilk ice cream. Nice balance of fruit and butterfat.

    The place was nicely hopping on a Saturday night, so it's not like the place is unappreciated, but it's a place you should go and appreciate.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #167 - August 8th, 2010, 4:08 pm
    Post #167 - August 8th, 2010, 4:08 pm Post #167 - August 8th, 2010, 4:08 pm
    JoelF wrote:We went to Vie last night for our 27th wedding anniversary. Wonderful as the first time, great place -- a gem to have outside of downtown.
    (Unsurprisingly, ran into Ronnie Suburban on our way out)

    Very nice running into you guys (didn't want to out you, just in case).

    Happy anniversary! :)

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #168 - November 14th, 2010, 3:15 pm
    Post #168 - November 14th, 2010, 3:15 pm Post #168 - November 14th, 2010, 3:15 pm
    Some may accuse me of being a "homer" for Vie and they'd be 100% right. I love the place, wish I lived closer to it and think about it often, especially after a few weeks go by without a visit. This past Friday, the wife and I decided to take the 30-mile drive down to Vie in the hopes that when we arrived, there'd be a couple of open seats at the bar. As luck would have it, there were. So, we sat down and let mixologist Mike Page and Vie's team of ultra-talented chefs guide the rest of our evening, which was wonderful.

    Of course, we like the bar for a reason; a few cocktails to start . . . :D

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    Sam Hocker's Old Fashioned | Buffalo Trace, Orange Rind, Maraschino Cherries, Peychaud's Bitters
    Paul Virant learned this version from a friend and I like it because the orange is really pronounced (from intense muddling) and matches up perfectly with the bourbon. In my experience, only the zest is usually included in cocktails but the inclusion of some pith adds a nice note of complexity to the drink and it foils the sweet elements very well. The beautiful color is imparted by the cherries.


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    Bourbon Peach Buck | Buffalo Trace, house-made Peach Puree, house-made Ginger Liqueur, Ginger Beer
    Mike Page made this one up on the fly and I have to say that I really enjoyed the combination of the bourbon and the ginger elements, which went together well.


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    Nathan's Charcuterie Plate | turkey liver mousse, turkey rillettes, coppa, Canadian bacon, peppercress with mustard vinaigrette, rhubarb mostarda, pickled kohlrabi and carrots
    I loved the seasonal bent of this incarnation, with the 2 turkey elements, which were both amazing. The rillettes were especially delicious. But so too was everything else on the plate, right down to the mostarda and the pickled kohlrabi, which blew us away. I order the charcuterie plate every single time I go to Vie and it's always revelatory...seemingly even better than the time before, which is a testament to Nathan's continued dedication to his craft. He's constantly acquiring new knowledge about charcuterie, which always shows up on the plate.


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    Crispy Whole Wheat Gnocchi | delicata squash, roasted honeycrisp apples, fresh chevre sauce, crispy wheatberries
    It's hard to see the gnocchi here but they were excellent, with a delicate exterior crunch and perfect chew. I could not believe how delicious the roasted apples were. The warm, toasty wheat berries were a real inspiration. They added a remarkably satisfying crunchy texture to the dish and a nice nutty flavor, too.


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    Pan-seared Diver Sea Scallops | local cranberry jam, sherry-glazed celery root, candied hickory nuts
    Perfectly tender and sweet scallops with a delectable sear. I really enjoyed the sweet/tart counterpoint of the cranberries, too.


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    Warm Spinach Salad | house-made red wine vinegar, Spanish olive oil, smoked monterey jack crostini, fried sweet onions
    So seemingly simple and yet so amazing. There were such great flavors here, including the crostini, which was utterly addictive.


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    "Sazer-wrong" | Sazerac rye, North Shore Absinthe, fresh lime, house-made pomegranate syrup
    Mike named this one, as he made it on the fly. I thought it was delicious and should have been called the "great and plenty" because it reminded me a lot of Good n' Plenty candies. Of course, Mike's never going to describe one of his own drinks as "great," even though they are.



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    Arctic Char | Delicata squash, shishito pepper, peppercress
    The kitchen came up with this off-menu item, which showcased a couple of featured ingredients, including the immaculate arctic char and the delicata squash. This was a great 'less is more' dish, which really let the ingredients -- and the skills of the kitchen -- shine.


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    Gabriel Boudier Saffron-Infused Gin, house-made Pear Puree, Ginger Beer, house-made Ginger liqueur, 1/2 lemon reamed, Depaz cane syrup
    I don't think Mike gave this one a name but it was delicious. Because Vie puts up their own purees, preserves, etc. these items are frequently found in their cocktails. One might think that this results in cocktails that skew too sweet but that isn't the case. They are consistently delicious and very well-balanced, which really says a lot about Mike's skill behind the bar.


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    Paul Virant
    Chef trying to interfere with the picture-taking!! :lol:


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    Blood Cake | yukon gold potato puree, farm egg, onion, brown butter
    This was another off-menu item and it revealed me to be the truly bad husband that I am. I say this because I ate about 95% of it before I passed the plate to Julie with one lone bite remaining. Sorry, honey. This one was just too amazing to share. 8)


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    Caveny Farm Bourbon Red Turkey Combination | brined and roasted breast, braised leg and thigh, Sweet Dumpling Squash puree, brown butter, brussels sprouts, wild mushrooms
    Another great dish, which is really going to take the luster off the Thanksgiving dinner I'll be making for my family next week. After tasting this moist, intensely-flavorful turkey and the phenomemal array of veggies that accompanied it, our dinner next week is going to feel like a t.v. dinner. In all seriousness, the earthy 'medley' of brussels sprouts and wild mushrooms was nothing short of spectacular.


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    Sweet Dumpling Squash puree
    Someone (not naming any names here :wink:) forked into this before I could get a shot. This tasty puree was served with the turkey course.


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    Warm Gooey Butter Cake | streusel bottom, sour cream caramel, doughnuts, cinnamon ice cream, warm Seedling Farm cider
    The signature Vie dessert taken to never-before-seen heights by the amazing Rochelle DuBridge. In the end, all that really matters is how something tastes but the fact is, this plate was a visual work of art, too. Ms. DuBridge is remarkably talented and hers are the best desserts I can ever remember having that weren't made by Mindy Segal.


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    Chocolate Stout Cake | milk chocolate mousse, house-brandied cherries, chocolate stout ice cream, toffee
    Everything on this plate went so well together and really, the execution was flawless. Masterful. What an amazingly delicious dessert!

    I want to thank the lovely Laurie, another fan of Vie who bought our desserts for us. We learned that she's been to Vie over 300 times and that really made me envious. Anyway, after chatting with her for a while during dinner, she offered to buy our desserts just because we are also such huge fans to Vie. Thanks, Laurie. We owe you one! :)

    I'm now on the about-once-a-month Vie rotation and start to crave it -- not just the food and beverage but also spending time there -- after a few weeks go by. The food, the beverages, the hospitality and enthusiastic energy that drives it all distinguish it for me and make it one of my very favorite destinations. The first-ever Chicago Michelin ratings are due out later this week and it seems all but assued that Vie will receive at least 1 star but I hope they get 2. Yes, I'm a fan but in my opinion, they truly deserve 2.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #169 - November 15th, 2010, 4:50 pm
    Post #169 - November 15th, 2010, 4:50 pm Post #169 - November 15th, 2010, 4:50 pm
    What he said.

    We were at Vie on 11/5 and again last Friday. Sorry we missed you!

    Last week I had the wood-grilled crawford farm rack of lamb and crispy lamb ribs w/ braised cannellini beans, pickled ramps, roasted turnips and celery root, preserved cherries. I'm not a food photo person, sorry, but I can tell you the lamb was perfectly done and delicious. I got the gnocchi a week ago and recommended them to a dining companion last Friday. We both would happily eat them many more times. The kitchen sent out an order of the pan roasted walleye pike for us to split...which made me very happy as I'd been debating about ordering it. Arctic char was on the menu on 11/5 but off on 11/12, to my chagrin. I didn't think to ask about it! My husband called the turkey "the best turkey" he's ever eaten.

    You also ordered my 2 favorite desserts and I completely agree, the warm gooey butter cake was beautiful.

    Vie has become my all time favorite special occasion restaurant...but I can always think up an occasion.
    "The only thing I have to eat is Yoo-hoo and Cocoa puffs so if you want anything else, you have to bring it with you."
  • Post #170 - December 26th, 2010, 3:02 pm
    Post #170 - December 26th, 2010, 3:02 pm Post #170 - December 26th, 2010, 3:02 pm
    We were back at Vie last week for our monthly pilgrimage and we had -- no surprise -- an awesome meal. Below are pictures of what we had and a few comments, as well . . .

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    Sweet Milk Punch (front) & Strawberry Gin Flip
    Punch: Vanilla-infused Buffalo Trace bourbon, Luxardo triplum, frangelico, DePaz cane syrup, house-made milk jam, milk
    Flip: Ransom Old Tom gin, fresh mint, strawberry-pinot noir syrup, fresh reamed lime, DePaz cane syrup
    I loved both of these Mike Page creations and it's great that at Vie the strawberry element can be delivered so exquisitely even in December, via a house-made syrup. The milk punch was actually finished with a bit of house-made egg nog, which was a great touch.


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    Amuse: Wood-Grilled Laughing Bird Shrimp with Hard-Cooked Egg and Dill
    Wood smoke + shrimp...what's not to like? :D


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    Midnight Err | Ron Zacapa 23-year, Amaretto di Saronno, fresh lime juice, Barritt's ginger beer
    A great cocktail in which the lime and the ginger elements combined with the sweet spirits into balanced harmony.


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    Nathan's Charcuterie Plate | spicy orange salami, country pate, beef summer sausage, local greens with mustard vinaigrette, rhubarb & port jam, pickled beans & carrots
    I always love Nathan's plate and the highlight of this incarnation was the seasonally-appropriate spicy orange salami. You could really taste the orange note, especially up front.


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    Pan-Roasted Diver Sea Scallops | caramelized salsify, thyme, Wisconsin oyster mushrooms, preserved lemon butter
    Loved these perfectly seared scallops. The caramelized salsify and oyster mushrooms added great flavor and textural contrasts.


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    House-Smoked and Seared Black Cod | Spanish olive oil-potato puree, grilled fennel, pickled snow peas
    This house-smoked fish was insanely good. It was fatty, unctuous and carried a perfect amount of sweet smoke -- one of the best bites of our meal.


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    Wood-Grilled Caveny Farm Turkey Sausage | creamed house-made sauerkraut, warm kale, mustard
    Super savory and delicious house-made sausage paired so well with the other elements, especially the house-made sauerkraut.


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    Pan-Roasted Walleye Pike | black lentils, spicy La Quercia coppa, pickled celery, organic creme fraiche sauce
    I only got a tiny bite of this one but the combination of perfectly cooked pike and tender lentils was outstanding.


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    Crispy, Anson Mills Rice Flour Gnocchi | creamy celery root, pea shoots perigord black truffles
    I didn't sense a whole lot of truffle flavor here but the dish still succeeded because the gnocchi were just perfect -- crispy on the inside and lightly toothsome on the inside.


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    Cream Of Sweet Potato Soup | Irish soda bread toast, Klug Farm raisin butter
    I never got to try this one but my wife assures me that it was delicious. :wink:


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    The Vie Salad | local greens, pickled hearts of palm, garlic & herb vinaigrette, Parmigiano-Reggiano
    One of my favorite salads anywhere. I just love Vie's vinaigrette, which is, quite possibly, the best I've ever had.


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    House-Cured Canadian Bacon | ancho mayonnaise, gardiniera, polenta
    The kitchen sent this course out for us and it was great. The interplay of the ingredients was sensational in both flavor and texture. The hot gardiniera went so well with the polenta and both of those ingredients picked up the canadian bacon very well. The ancho mayo was a great, slighly smoky condiment, which brought the whole plate together.


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    Caveny Farm American Buff Goose Breast | Honeycrisp apples, goose livers, black truffles
    The kitchen sent this delicious course out for us, as well. Caveny has just started raising these geese. The meat was delectable and the "sauce" really highlighted it well. I loved the inclusion of the livers, which were surprisingly (to me) not very gamey in flavor.


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    Butter-Roasted Turbot | crispy bone marrow dumpling, roasted parsnips, baby leeks, bordelaise sauce
    Moist, flakey and rich, this fish -- and entire plate -- was a major highlight of our meal.


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    Wood-Grilled Vie Burger | Dietzler Farm beef and fried farm egg, aged Wisconsin cheddar, tater tots, spicy mayonnaise, pickles
    Yep, every bit as good as it looked. I didn't get an interior shot but the burger was cooked perfectly to medium-rare and was beautifully red from edge to edge. The accompanying elements were all extremely tasty, especially those tater tots.


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    Wood-Grilled Crawford Farm Lamb Loin & Crispy Lamb Ribs | chickpea panisse, Werp Farm arugula, olives, marcona almonds, mandarins
    Unreal duo of spectacular lamb. The additional elements were paired and executed expertly making this plate a great success.


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    Mint Creek Farm Goat Bolognese | slow-cooked goat and house made sausage, cavatelli, preserved tomato sauce, black trumpet mushrooms, kale, Prairie Fruits Farm Kaskaskia
    Probably my favorite dish of the night. I was full but I couldn't stop eating it. Both goat components were so delicious and the sauce was bright and intense . . . and perfect. The addition of the slightly bitter and earthy kale was a great note, paired against the tangy tomato.


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    Intermezzo: Lemon Sorbet


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    Chocolate Buttermilk Cake | mint-white chocolate moussse, chocolate sauce, milk ice, peppermint patty
    I'm normally not a huge fan of mint and chocolate but this was utterly delicious. With the components prepared and matched so perfectly, this combination became compelling to me and I finally "got it." I'm a huge fan of Vie's pastry chef Rochelle DuBridge and think that her desserts are among the very best in all of Chicagoland. When someone can take a combination that I don't usually like and turn it into something this great and memorable, I think it says a lot.


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    Warm Gooey Butter Cake | streusel bottom, sour cream caramel, doughnuts, cinnamon ice cream, warm Seedling Farm cider
    A great, seasonal rendtion of Vie's signature dessert, completed with the addition of warm cider, tableside.


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    Prairie Fruits Farm Sheep's Milk Cheese Cake | almond shortbread, warm mandarins, almond crisp
    Another great plate with a well-conceived combination of flavors and perfect execution. The busting-with-flavor mandarin segments were warm and exploded in our mouths when we bit into them. Really awesome!


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    Spiced Eggnog Pot de Creme & Assorted Holiday Cookies
    As good as any pot de creme I had recently in Paris and the cookies were awesome too. I loved the eggnog flavor and the texture was rich and perfectly creamy.

    This was my first visit to Vie since they were awarded their Michelin star back in November. It doesn't appear to have changed things one bit. The energy, enthusiasm, skill and quality that have become synonymous with Vie are all still on their steady, upward trajectories. I probably won't bother making a year-end "best of" list but I will say that Vie was, without a doubt, my very favorite Chicagoland restaurant in 2010.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #171 - December 26th, 2010, 4:36 pm
    Post #171 - December 26th, 2010, 4:36 pm Post #171 - December 26th, 2010, 4:36 pm
    My wife and I celebrated our anniversary with our first trip to Vie last Wednesday. Throwing caution (or, in this case, the advice of lth's resident Vie expert, Ronnie) to the wind we opted for the 8 course tasting menu rather than building one of our own design - my wife just enjoys being surprised by each course too much.

    I'd noted that this was for our anniversary when making the reservation through OpenTable, and the first time we saw our server it was with two complimentary glasses of cava and a congratulations on the anniversary.

    We had a number of the same dishes pictured by Ronnie just above. Things started with the same amuse, and as he said, what's not to like about wood smoke + shrimp? This was followed by the house smoked and seared black cod, every bit as good as Ronnie's picture and description make it out to be. Definitely one of the highlights of a superb meal. Our next course was sturgeon, with all of the same accompaniments as the pan-roasted walleye pike pictured above. Not often a fan of lentils after basically daily servings while growing up in India, my wife was very pleasantly surprised.

    Next up was the cream of sweet potato soup. While I thought the soup was fine but not particularly memorable, Ronnie truly missed out on the Irish soda bread toast with Klug Farm raisin butter - absolutely delicious. Next up was sturgeon, with the accompaniments Ronnie had with the butter-roasted turbot. Another standout, and remembering this along with the cod and the ocean trout leaves me truly impressed with the seafood preparations at Vie.

    Then the Caveny Farm turkey sausage. This one was actually a bit of a miss for us. It may just be differing tastes, or it may be some slight difference - I thought the turkey sausage itself was much too salty when we had it. It was only when I got the perfect combination of all three elements in a single bite that I enjoyed this dish.

    Our final entree was from the menu, "wood-grilled dry-aged dietzler farm ribeye and braised burgundy snails, fried vie toast, wilted spinach, garlic and parsley butter, candied hillside orchard chestnuts." I cannot praise this dish enough. Very flavorful, perfectly cooked ribeye matched well with everything else on that plate. In a meal replete with highlights, this was the biggest standout of them all.

    My memory of the 7th and 8th courses is sadly a wee bit less accurate as the wine pairings I opted for had been enjoyed considerably by that point. The 7th course was a cheese course, in this case a slightly runny goat cheese with a cranberry puree (I believe) and a third component that escapes me now. Even as someone who generally avoids runny cheeses, this was a very pleasant dish at this point in the meal. Lemon sorbet intermezzo was followed by a dessert somewhere in between brownie and cake that featured chestnut prominently, I believe. My wife loved this dish so much that I gave her most of mine as well, but I did enjoy the couple of bites I managed before trading.

    Our server mentioned that for an occasion like an anniversary, an additional dessert would normally be brought out, but she read us perfectly as being very comfortably full at that point. While I do lament missing another dessert there, particularly after more of Ronnie's photos, even just a little bit more would have been too much at that point and we quickly agreed that passing on the extra dessert was the best choice.

    This was undoubtedly one of the best meals we had in 2010, and we're both already eager to return. Given the emphasis on local ingredients, and the quality of the meal despite that emphasis given the season, I can't wait to try them when local produce is fresh and in season. At $100 per person for the 8 course tasting menu, and $40 for wine pairings, I'd actually rate Vie as one of the best values for a meal of this caliber I've encountered in a long time.
  • Post #172 - March 7th, 2011, 8:32 am
    Post #172 - March 7th, 2011, 8:32 am Post #172 - March 7th, 2011, 8:32 am
    Bullet point review:

    First visit for me on Friday.
    -Cocktails, eight-course tasting, but not wine pairing.
    -Very generous pours on wines by the glass.
    -Wine list kind of limited (as an example no Rieslings between $60 and $250).
    -Food lived up to its billing, no complaints there.
    -By course six I knew I wasn't going to be sickly gorged, so I ordered a couple of extra desserts (good call).
    -Primary server was excellent.

    Minor quibbles:
    -Only one kind of bread option (how bout something whole grain?)
    -Had to ask for bread and coffee refills. Wife's water glass empty for about 10 minutes.
    -Cheese course had only one kind of cheese. Not that I wanted more cheese, just a little variety. (Not entirely fair, but compare to Tru where they roll out a cart with about 20 cheeses and ask "what do you want?")

    Tab for the two of us including tax, tip, etc. was close to $400, but you could have a less gluttonous version for considerably less.

    I would happily return.
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #173 - March 17th, 2011, 6:12 pm
    Post #173 - March 17th, 2011, 6:12 pm Post #173 - March 17th, 2011, 6:12 pm
    I would love to hear from anyone who was able to dine at Vie for their St. Patrick's Day dinner (tonight and yesterday).... I was not able to attend, but I've been salivating over the menu all week. Thanks!!!
  • Post #174 - March 27th, 2011, 8:07 pm
    Post #174 - March 27th, 2011, 8:07 pm Post #174 - March 27th, 2011, 8:07 pm
    We were at Vie yesterday for the restaurant week special meal. The only reservation I could get (because I waited too long) was for 5:15 but the place was packed shortly after we arrived. One of the sides that the chef sent out was a brandade. Their version was mixed with potatoes and roasted garlic. I could have licked the bowl. It was that good. Anyway, I was told that it is going to be making it to their regular menu and I wouldn't miss giving it a try.
  • Post #175 - March 28th, 2011, 11:23 am
    Post #175 - March 28th, 2011, 11:23 am Post #175 - March 28th, 2011, 11:23 am
    Went to Vie last Wednesday for the chef's week menu. First time there, and as others have said......absolutely fantastic!!! Favorite was probably the sunchoke salad.....could have eaten a giant bowl of this and been very happy. Although everything was so fantastic it's very hard to say any one thing was the favorite. My husband and I ordered one of everything and shared. Can't wait to return!
  • Post #176 - June 13th, 2011, 7:31 am
    Post #176 - June 13th, 2011, 7:31 am Post #176 - June 13th, 2011, 7:31 am
    Sort of an odd questions, my Dad was at Vie on Saturday and had a Manhattan that he said was made with some dark looking Rye called "Lions" something. The only thing Google turns up is Koval Distillery Lion's Pride (which actually is in Chicago!). Anyone had a Manhattan at Vie? Was Lion's Pride the rye? I'd like to buy him a bottle for Father's Day since he enjoyed it so much.
  • Post #177 - June 13th, 2011, 10:43 am
    Post #177 - June 13th, 2011, 10:43 am Post #177 - June 13th, 2011, 10:43 am
    Bluto11 wrote:Sort of an odd questions, my Dad was at Vie on Saturday and had a Manhattan that he said was made with some dark looking Rye called "Lions" something. The only thing Google turns up is Koval Distillery Lion's Pride (which actually is in Chicago!). Anyone had a Manhattan at Vie? Was Lion's Pride the rye? I'd like to buy him a bottle for Father's Day since he enjoyed it so much.

    Yes. That's it. Pretty sure they use the Lion's Pride Dark Rye but if you give them a call, I'm sure they'll be happy to confirm it for you. I know that bartender Mike Page really likes that product.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #178 - June 28th, 2011, 1:13 pm
    Post #178 - June 28th, 2011, 1:13 pm Post #178 - June 28th, 2011, 1:13 pm
    2 recent, fantastic Vie meals to recap -- one from last month and one from last week. Unforuntately, I'm buried at work so I don't have time to describe the dishes. So, what follows are pictures of what we ate, along with menu descriptions and some very limited commentary. For both of these meals, we pretty much put ourselves in the kitchen's hands and asked them to send out whatever they wanted to. The May 7 meal has all but evaporated from the menu. You'll see only a couple of carry-over dishes in the June 22 meal. Chef Sears told us that the menu was set to turnover again, a day or 2 after that meal, so I'm not sure if any of these dishes are still available. That shouldn't matter, though, as it's clear that the crew at Vie can deftly handle whatever the seasons throw their way . . .

    Vie Restaurant - 11.0507

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    Vie's Michelin Star


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    Nathan's Charcuterie Plate | turkey rillettes, Gunthorp Farm rabbit pate, beef summer sausage, 1-year culatello, local greens with mustard vinaigrette, cherry mostarda, pickled beans and carrots
    The 1-year cured culatello was so funky, it practically smelled like cheese. I absolutely loved it.


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    Ricotta Gnudi | roasted and pickled beets, lemon olive oil, Werp Farm arugula


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    Crispy Strauss Veal Sweetbread | roasted asparagus, black truffle butter, meyer lemon emulsion, pickled celery


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    Pan-Roasted Diver Sea Scallops | sweet pea puree, Trader's Point yogurt, brown butter, crispy wheat berries


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    Milk Punch


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    Unknown Cocktail
    Sorry that I don't remember the details...maybe I shouldn't have had 2. :P


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    Klug Farm Asparagus | marsala-marinated local mushrooms, pickled wood-grilled onions, house-made string cheese, spring onion vinaigrette


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    Cream of Green Garlic Soup | San Marzano-braised Slagel Farm veal meatballs, wood-grilled bread croutons


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    Chef's Garden White Asparagus | La Quercia prosciutto, green garlic, sherry gastrique, fried onions


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    Wood-Grilled Au Bon Canard Foie Gras | toasted potato bread, local milk jam, braised apricots, toasted almonds


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    Pan-Roasted Whitefish & Smoked Pacific Cod "Brandade" Cake | creamed sweet peas, slow-cooked Tuscan kale, preserved garlic, cippolini aigre-doux jus


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    Sorbet


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    Warm Ricotta Zeppoli | powdered sugar, butterscotch hot fudge, lemon Italian ice milk


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    Banana Cake | brown sugar chocolate streusel, banana sherbet, coffee pouring cream, milk chocolate hot fudge


    Vie Restaurant - 11.0622

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    Thief in the Night |
    Ransom Old Tom gin, housemade blackberry-raspberry liqueur, cherry bitters, fresh orange juice & rind, Fentimen's dandelion and burdock soda


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    Lavender Leaf | Michter's Rye, green chartreuse, blackstrap bitters, DePaz cane syrup, orange rind, ginger ale, fresh lavender


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    Nathan's Charcuterie Plate | pork rillettes, Howling Hounds rabbit mortadella, coppa, local greens with mustard vinaigrette, smoked apple butter, ramp picalilly, house pickles


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    Nichols Farm Spring Pea Salad | snow and snap peas, honey vinaigrette, grilled lettuces, cilantro, Illahee truffled goat's milk cheese


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    Klug Farm Asparagus | marsala-marinated local mushrooms, hakuri turnips, sliced Thomasville thome, spring onion vinaigrette


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    Cream of Green Garlic Soup | San Marzano-braised Slagel Farm veal meatballs, wood-grilled bread croutons


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    Cripsy House-Made Cotechino Sausage | wood-grilled porcinis, pickled snow peas, creme fraiche, hickory nut aillade


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    Tempura-Fried Soft Shell Crab | bacon-braised spring onions, spicy pickled pepper, peanut relish


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    Caveny Farm Catahdin Lamb Ravioli | sweet peas, pickled artichokes, oregano, sunchoke puree


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    Wood-Grilled Wild Sockeye Salmon | Anson Mills Charleston gold rice, green garlic soffrito, Werp Farm tat soi, wood-grilled spring onion vinaigrette, hard-cooked egg


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    Wood-Grilled Dry-Aged Dietzler Farm Beef Ribeye & Smoked Sausage | local cranberry bean puree, pickled ramp-glazed carrots, mustard greens, red wine beef sauce


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    Gunthorp Farm Chicken Ballotine | Pristine View polenta, Klug Farm asparagus, house-cured olives, pickled vidalia onions, basil pesto, creme fraiche


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    Warm Gooey Butter Cake | pistachio streusel, granola, sour cherry sorbet, whipped white chocolate ganache


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    "Chocolate Silk Pie" | dark chocolate cremeux, brisee, chocolate cake crumb


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    Banana Cake | brown sugar chocolate streusel, coffee cream, coffee ice cream, milk chocolate hot fudge


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    Chocolate Bark

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #179 - June 28th, 2011, 6:28 pm
    Post #179 - June 28th, 2011, 6:28 pm Post #179 - June 28th, 2011, 6:28 pm
    Gorgeous looking meals both. Funny that after going thru the first set of pics, as beautiful as everything was, it was the green garlic soup with veal meatballs that made me say "I wish I could eat that right now"--and there they were again in meal number 2, as if to taunt me :D Thanks for the mouthwatering post!!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #180 - October 5th, 2011, 8:51 am
    Post #180 - October 5th, 2011, 8:51 am Post #180 - October 5th, 2011, 8:51 am
    Needing to use my expiring Blackboard Eats code, Mr. X and I headed out to Western Springs last night. Vie is not near our home by any stretch of the imagination, but we have found ourselves dining there more than at any similar place in the city. Mr. X started with the house manhattan which was made with "beer jam." Goose Island Bourbon County Stout with some sugar, boiled down. This was a phenomenal drink. It had a sweetness to it, but wasn't over-sweet. A great start. And then the food goodness began.

    The amuse was a small spoonful of brandade. I know there was tomato and something crunchy. A wondeful little bite to wake up the palate.

    First course was their wonderful gnocchi (yukon gold potato gnocchi, roasted butternut squash, klug farm grapes, red onion aigre doux, prairie fruits farm chevre).

    Second course was the halibut (pan-roasted alaskan halibut, braised spaghetti squash, roasted klug farm apples, shaved white turnips, werp farm frisee, amaretti).

    The third course was the beef (wood-grilled dry-aged dietzler farm beef loin with braised beef and potato gratin, stout braised candy onions, wilted local greens, wood-grilled brussel sprouts, crème fraiche beef jus)

    Course four was a bit of the Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Cooperative “dante” sheep’s milk cheese with some jam and bit of microgreens.

    The sorbet was concord grape.

    We finished on the gooey butter cake (with red kuri squash, pear squash chutney, pear ginger sorbet, whipped cream).

    With each new course, we would say "wow", surprised but not surprised that it was better than the last. We split a wine pairing so our enjoyment was amplied by the excellent matches. The Dietzler beef course was amazing, although I found the wood-smoked brussel sprouts to be overpowering. What really amazed us is how complex each course was. Mr. X chuckled at me when I was working on dessert. I was making sure I had all of the ingredients in each bite because they were amazing together.

    Service was great. Our server was knowledgable, yet not casual, which is something that has happened to us there before.

    I love Vie. It's a trek to get out there and we always spend more than we should, but it is so worth it. I'm lucky that Mr. X agrees with me. :-)
    -Mary

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