There always seems to be something to celebrate in Chicago's
restaurants. It could be a birthday, a new menu, and an
expansion - whatever it is. there's a good reason to raise
your glass for a toast.
Bistro 110, two new wines are the focus
of attention. Bistro 110, a favorite near the Magnificent
Mile for its traditional French cuisine and its Sunday jazz
brunch, launched its private label white and red wines this
past spring. Bistro Blanc and Bistro Rouge, each made with
a mix of grape varietals were blended by Bistro
110 Executive Chef Dominique Tougne and
Palmer Vineyards, located on the North Fork of
Long Island in New York.
doubt Palmer was selected for its classically structured
wines, which have won praise from international wine writers
as well as a long list of awards over the years. Palmer
boasts gold medals in all of California's major tasting
competitions and has produced some of the nation's top wines.
Its 1998 merlot, for example, won gold medals in wine competitions
held by the Taster's Guild and the American Wine Society,
while the 1999 Gewurztraminer won Gold Medals in the New
York Food Wine Classic and the San Diego National Wine Competition
and Silver from the American Wine Society. Robert Palmer,
whose marketing efforts have made Palmer one of the most
visible producers in Long Island, heads the winery.
Bistro 110, Palmer worked with Chef
Tougne to create the 1998 Bistro Blanc, a light and
fresh wine, with the scent of citrus and strong tastes of
grapefruit. The predominant grape in Bistro Blanc is pinot
blanc, with chardonnay the next major grape in the blend.
Sauvignon Blanc, gewürztraminer and viognier make up
the rest of the mix.
1997 Bistro Rouge is dark with berry tastes, a
fitting accompaniment for the evening's duck foie gras with
cherries. Bistro Rouge is dominated by merlot, which gives
the wine a soft fruitiness, complimented by the black curlant
tastes imparted by cabernet sauvignon. Cabernet franc, the
third grape in the blend, gives the wine an aromatic nose.
wines go with many dishes on Bistro 110's
menu, but are particularly attractive with certain choices.
Bistro Blanc, with its light character, is wonderful with
seafood and shellfish, such as oysters on the half shell.
The restaurant, which recently unveiled a new raw bar area,
offers its freshly shucked oysters on the half with shallot
vinegar. Black mussels "Mariniere" is another
starter to go with Bistro Blanc. The dish is steamed
in white wine with shallots, butter, garlic and herbs. Among
restaurant favorites, seared sea scallops with saffron Basmati
rice would go well with the new white wine. The scallops
are wood roasted and served over a nest of sauteed fresh
spinach and rice and drizzled with olive oil.
deeper Bistro Rouge is perfect with richer fare.
Duck foie gras, such as the one served with cherries atop
toast points the night of the wines' launch, paired well
with Bistro Blanc, but was luscious with Bistro
Rouge. On the menu itself, there is a different, but
equally tempting foie gras option, which comes with a star
anise poached petite pear filled with fresh plum compote.
dinner of one of Bistro 110's heartier
dishes would be complemented by a glass of Bistro Rouge.
Choices include the Osso Burro le Chevrtuil, Venison Osso
Bucco in a Red Wine, sauce and home made Spatzle, and Medallions
of Beef Tenderloin, grilled and served with French-fried
Potatoes and Béarnaise. With two new wines made by
Palmer, Bistro 110 has something more to
offer its guests. Bistro Blanc and Bistro Rouge
have joined other world-class wines on Bistro 110's
chefs for a Grand Celebration - Le Français
Celebrating a legend in Chicago
land dining calls for a gathering of chefs. That's how Le
Français, the acclaimed restaurant in Wheeling,
ILL. celebrated its first anniversary with partner Phil
Mott and partner/chef Don Yamauchi and its twenty-ninth
year of offering premier French cuisine.
March, past chefs of Le Français
returned to the venerable establishment to contribute to
the festivities. These kitchen maestros included
Le Français founder Jean Banchet, Carrie
Nahabidian, chef at Naha, Mark Gross of Oceanic, Patrick
Chabert of the French Culinary Experience and Joe Doppes
of Bistrot Margot.
chef created one course. Chef Nahabidian presented a delectable
combination of Maine Diver Sea Scallop and Hedgehog mushrooms
with French Lentils, Back Bacon, Wilted Italian Frisee and
Red Wine Syrup. From Chef Doppes came a rich dish of Foie
gras and Grilled Vegetable terrine with Black Truffle Vinaigrette.
Oceanic's Chef Gross contributed Roasted Black Bass with
Sea Urchin Butter, while Chabert offered Lobster Chartreuse.
Le Français masters contributed
their own delicious creations, including Roasted Breast
of Squab and Leg Comfit with Sweetbreads, served with Savory
Cabbage, from founder Banchet. Chef Yarnauchi presented
Spicy Tuna Tartare with Cilantro and Ginger, wrapped in
leeks and accompanied by Osetra Caviar. Le Français
Pastry Chef Carolyn Blanc offered guests a Tarte Tatin and
Grand Marnier Soufflé as well as a Champagne Sorbet.
the list of kitchen masters, the list of guests was equally
star-studded, featuring other acclaimed chefs and restaurateurs.
Dining at Le Français were Carlos
and Debbie Nieto of Carlos, Gabriel Viti
of Gabrid's, Gale Gand of Tru,
Michael Maddox of Le Titi de Paris, Bruce
Sherman of North Pond Cafe and Chef Tougne
of Bistro 110.