CHSO July 2013 : Page 92

Dishes To DevouR 5 henri It’s not easy picking out just one favorite dish from chef Chris Gawronsk i’s menu. His escargot Bourgogne served with truffle brioche is a killer butter-on-butter flavor bomb of a dish, but it’s his delicate and subtle Dover sole paupiette wrapped in leeks that gets our vote for best reason classical French cuisine still matters. Or, at least, it does in the hands of this talented chef. 18 S. Michigan Ave., 312.578.0763 1 tavernita On paper, corn pudding doesn’t sound all that exciting—or Spanish, either. But rather than churn out traditional tapas at this River North hot spot, chef Ryan Poli instead taps into his experience living in Spain for this kind of creative riff. The pudding is creamy yet fluffy, the pieces of shrimp are firm and sweet, the roasted poblanos add a subtle heat and the tangle of lightly dressed arugula on top of it all gives it a nice peppery kick. In other words, muchas gracias , Poli. 151 W. Erie St., 312.274.1111 2 chef Ryan McCaskey ’s mom never let him eat junk cereal as a kid, otherwise this scallop dish might never have happened. “I was looking for a way to make an interesting adult savory cereal dish,” says McCaskey. Twenty-three ingredients later (it’s since been “simplified” to about 18, much to the relief of his cooks), including puffed grains, perfectly seared diver scallops, caramel-braised rutabaga, chorizo powder, mustard greens from McCaskey’s garden and a squab consomme, and his delicious homage to that ubiquitous morning meal was done. 1639 S. Wabash Ave., 312.360.9500 5 acadia We’re glad 4 avec I felt like I’d won the lottery one recent 92 | | July 2013 acadia photo by anthony tahlier bub city The down-home vibe may be laid on a bit thick here, from the country music and posters of cowboy-hat-wearing bands to the beer can American flag behind the bar. But all is forgiven when the 8 Buck Cluck sandwich—adorned with an American flag-topped toothpick, natch—is put in front of us. The generous piece of fried 3 chicken breast that’s been brined overnight in buttermilk and pickle juice is seasoned perfectly. And the soft potato bun it’s paired with guarantees all the golden crispiness gets to our mouths safely. Howdy partner, indeed. 435 N. Clark St., 312.610.4200 Saturday night when I walked into Avec at prime time and snagged a seat at the bar lickety split. While dining alone definitely has its advantages, my glee turned to panic once I realized my lack of eating companions meant I would have to downsize my order. But that changed when my server recommended his favorite dish: the marinated chicken thighs. Served in a small cast-iron cocotte, the crispy-skin thighs come adorned with shaved Brussels sprouts, tangy ginger currants and the cutest baby potatoes. Listed on the small plates section of the menu, this dish was perfect for just one. Sharing can be so overrated. 615 W. Randolph St., 312.377.2002

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