Photo of Nellcote courtesy of Potluck Creative.
Unfortunately for Californians, the selling of foie gras has been illegal in the state since July 1. So, perhaps, I'm celebrating Chicago's freedom by enjoying this fine delicacy. Or, maybe, I'm simply exercising my civic duty by patronizing restaurants that include foie gras on the menu. Gluttonous? Absolutely. There's no denying that. Serves me right for gaining a few extra pounds this summer. But every last morsel was worth its weight in... well that's just it. It was worth the weight.
Here are my un-foie-gettable foie gras presentations:
Henri - 18 S Michigan Ave
Just steps from Chicago's renowned Millennium Park is Henri, a French-influenced oasis on bustling Michigan Avenue. Here you are whisked away from all the trouble's of the day, where the toughest decision you must make is which wine to order. But even then, award-winning sommielier Shebnem Ince is there to gently guide you to the perfect pairing. Henri offers all the luxuries of fine-dining without any of the pretention. And best of all, Chef Dirk Flannigan will give you several opportunities to indulge in the buttery delicatessen. And for that Chef, I thank you.
Consider the $29 prix-fixe lunch, that includes the Foie Gras Pavé as a first-course option. Served with Peach Jam, Riesling Gelee, and Brioche, this hors d'oeuvre will not disappoint. Going for dinner? Chef Flanigan ups the ante with your first-course of Foie Gras Pavé; this time including pistachio. If you prefer your foie gras hot, try the first-course of Wellington: Lobster, Foie Gras, Gastrique. And if that weren't enough, the entrée of Roasted Duck Breast Confit, complete with Blueberry Foie Gras Linzer, comes highly recommended.
Nellcôte - 833 W Randolph St
In one of Chicago's hottest dining districts, recently-opened Nellcôte in the West Loop neighborhood certainly has people talking. The stunning chandeliers, well-dressed patrons and extremely tasty bubbly give this scene an extra edge, but it's the quality menu from Chef Jared Van Camp that have diners returning for more. Here you can share plates with friends without feeling like you only got a nibble. And indulge I did. The Foie Gras "Torchon" is served with Brioche, Marasca Cherries and Pickled Pistachios. It is the most ridiculously awesome combination of flavors. Need I say more?
Longman & Eagle - 2657 N Kedzie Ave
Kick back and relax at this modern day tavern in Logan Square. Longman & Eagle offers all the comforts of an old neighborhood inn (e.g. heartfelt conversations with the bartender), with food so good you'll understand quickly why Chef Jared Wentworth raised the restaurant to Michelin-star status. Here you can sip on the finest of whiskeys and snack on Swan Creek Rabbit Paté served with Giardinière and Sourdough Tartines. Staying for dinner? Try the Kentucky Fried Quail with Foie Gras Enriched Corn Bread, Country Gravy, Red Beans and Hamhock. What is a ham hock you ask? It is the joint where the hog's foot is (or in this case, was) attached to the leg. Some times it's better not to ask, but simply trust in Chef Wentworth. He will never lead you astray.
Hot Doug's - 3324 N California Ave
Hot diggity dog. This famed sausage superstore and encased meat emporium serves up some seriously tasty eats. It's no wonder people line up in front of Doug's shop to sample his legendary creations like....are you ready for this?....Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with Truffle Aioli, Foie Gras Mousse and Fleur de Sel (a.k.a. French sea salt). And if that weren't enough to make your mouth water and your arteries shiver, you can order the Duck Fat Fries (Fridays & Saturdays only). Doug's foie gras masterpiece is just one of many eye-popping menu items that is well worth the wait.
Where are you finding this rich and delicious treat on the menu in Chicago? Tell us about your un-foie-gettable gastronomic adventure.