This is part of a series of posts about Chicago Restaurant Week, held February 1–10, 2013.
Lunch at Blackbird
Best Bite: While no dish was less than excellent, I was most wowed by the starter, a superbly delicate piece of smoked Arctic char. I loved the crunch from cauliflower and pear, and just enough meatiness from the tiny dollop of ‘nduja, a type of spreadable salami. It set the tone for the other unique flavor combinations to follow. See full menu.
Other notes: Gorgeous plating, quiet space, surprising main course accompaniments (onion noodles and buttermilk sauce to go with grilled sturgeon), and decadent dessert (an elegant Nutella-banana mash-up) with coffee service.
The details: Blackbird, 619 W Randolph St., Chicago.
Dinner at Carriage House
Best Bite: The entree best showed off the restaurant’s upscale take on low-country cuisine. The melt-in-your-mouth pork shoulder came with a host of balanced companions: smoked plums, pickled peppers, and celery hearts, atop grits and pork jus. With prevalent vinegar to cut through the richness, it was a pleasantly refined Southern dish. See full menu.
Other notes: Outstanding side of skillet cornbread, divine coffee-fudge dipping sauce for the beignets at dessert, tasty (and strong) rum punch, colorful ceramic dishware, and a table in the cozy porch area, with plaid flannel blankets over the chairs and plenty of candles.
The details: Carriage House, 1700 W Division St., Chicago.