Monday, October 6, 2014

Road Trip: Blackbird--Chicago

Hubby and I celebrated our fifteenth anniversary this September and decided to go to Chicago to celebrate. We pretty much just ate, slept, and shopped—a very decadent and fun weekend. The weather was spectacular—I highly recommend getting married in September—it makes for good weather almost anywhere.

We arrived right at lunchtime on a Friday and after much changing of our minds, ended up at Blackbird. Blackbird is a place we have always wanted to try and honestly, I didn’t even know was open for lunch until I just did a general opentable search.

We got there right as they opened at 11:30 (12:30 Indy time) and were one of the first seated. The menu is a modern French-type menu and we went back and forth over what to order. We ended up with the duck liver pate ($13) (hubby) and the salad of endive, baby lettuces, potato, Dijon, pancetta and poached egg ($9) (me). Luckily we share everything because hubby totally won this round. That pate dish was amazing and was probably the best thing we had in that meal and even made it into our list of favorite dishes of the weekend. The pate was smooth and rich, with a hint of some acid (maybe Sherry vinegar?), and was served with caramelized onion pound cake and barely pickled carrots and a couple of little cornichons—the perfect combination and rich and salty, briny and acidic, and lightly sweet. It was really, really good.  My salad unfortunately, just didn’t come together, even with so many of my favorite ingredients. The egg was poached and seasoned perfectly and the few bits of bacon and potato were tasty, but there was way too much lettuce and way too little dressing. It was just ok. The pate totally made up for it though.

After asking for recommendations for main dishes, I went with our server’s recommendation of the seared whitefish sandwich ($13), which is apparently one of Blackbird’s mainstay lunch dishes. Hubby went with another starter, which was also a server recommendation; the soft scrambled eggs with roasted chicken wings, spring legumes, caramelized shallots and radicchio ($10). While both were good, happily, I won this round. The sandwich is served on grilled sourdough with lemon and herb aioli, gribiche (a boiled egg yolk mayo with extra pickly stuff), and roasted tomatoes. There were also some crispy potato chips and some potato salad alongside. Although the bread was quite blackened, this sandwich was very, very good. I think they intend to blacken the bread on purpose, although after seeing several of these sandwiches served after mine, I think my bread was a tad overdone. I can appreciate a slight char taste, but it was a bit over the top. The inside however was perfect. Super tender fish with the right amount of the acidic aioli and gribiche, greens and softened tomato. A great sandwich. Hubby’s eggs were interesting, and also good, but just didn’t have all the layers of flavor like the sandwich or the pate. It was served with the very soft eggs in a layer on top, and all the other goodies underneath. There was a lot of nice texture with the lightly crisp green beans and the shallots. And the crispy boneless pieces of the chicken wing meat. The flavor was fairly delicate and the eggs were cooked perfectly.

We really enjoyed Blackbird—it’s a great place to know about that is open for lunch if you want something a little higher end and where you can make a reservation. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and like I said, since we split all of our dishes, we thoroughly enjoyed the food as well. The service is very professional without being snobby, and the interior, while somewhat sparse, is comfortable. I loved the chairs that spun.

619 West Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60661

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