It's very fun to have dinner with people who love to eat, and last night was no exception. My friend Daniel is in town from Paris. Last night we shared a meal at Blackbird, one of Chicago's high-end restaurant staples.
A couple of months ago Mike Sheerin was hired as the Chef de Cuisine at Blackbird. The appointment has garnered a lot of attention for Blackbird, a somewhat difficult feat for a restaurant of it's age, even if the food is consistently outstanding. Judging from what we ate last night, Sheerin will do a fine job.
seared maine diver scallops with local sweet corn, eggplant puree, early tart apples and lovage
*Wonder what lovage is? It's a green that tastes similar to cilantro. The only discernible difference is that the word "lovage" is far sexier than "cilantro."
crispy confit of swan creek farm suckling pig with sour cherries, roasted chiogga beets, housemade prosciutto and local cress
confit of squid with fresh shell beans, smoked paprika, zucchini bread and pluots
seared walleyed pike with local soybeans, heirloom tomatoes, peaches, pine and crispy chocolate*
*Cool...how'd they do that??? I have no idea, but I want to learn!
seared loin of venison with black mission figs, sugar snaps, bacon panisse and lime salt
colorouge- cow's milk, fort collins, colorado- with plum mostarda
mission fig beignet with black raspberries, butterscotch and bacon ice cream*
*Didn't like it. Not one bit. I love bacon. I love ice cream. But some things shouldn't coexist.
bittersweet chocolate polenta with sweet corn ice cream, blackberries and basil
The food was very good, but the service was exceptional. On the 5-foot shuffle from the bar to our table, the hostess pretty much demanded that we leave our wine glasses at the bar so she could carry them over to the table for us. Seriously, 5 feet.
Our table was slightly wobbly, and the staff took extra measures to make it more stable. In retrospect, there were several open tables around us, and it would have made sense to have shifted us over one rather than fussing around.
It was raining when we were leaving. After he declined a cab, the hostess gave Daniel an umbrella, which was much nicer than the umbrella I was carrying. Not a bad parting gift. I should have traded him, but he paid for dinner.