Hudson Valley Foie Gras – Aperol Glazed Donut, Rhubarb, Black Sesame, Green Strawberries
Tandoori Octopus – Wheat Berries, Date Vindaloo, Yogurt, Vadouvan, Carrots, Turmeric
Slagel Farms Shortrib – Bulgogi, Bone Marrow Butterscotch, Tokyo Turnip, Sushi Rice
Long Island Duck – Duck Rillettes, Strawberry Confit, English Peas, White Chocolate
Aurora Bee Co. Honey – Caramelized White Chocolate, Banana, Lavender
Cheesecake – Strawberry, Champagne, Balsamic Vinegar
Having experienced schwa several years ago a look at Brian Fisher’s menu at entente immediately spoke of Michael Carlson’s lasting influence, the unique flavor pairings and stylistic plating enough to earn a Michelin Star within its first year but dinner on July 5th showing that boundary-pushing creativity is not without peril even when working with world class ingredients.
Owned by Fujimura Hospitality with a location out in Lakeview that by any definition upgrades on Fisher’s former space in terms of aesthetics, floor-to-ceiling windows letting twilight wash over wood and grey walls as rap or metal play at about 1/3 the volume of schwa, it was immediately upon arrival that reservations were confirmed and seats offered – a two top in the center of a room that shouts “art gallery” not exactly cozy but certainly sophisticated and fitting.
Described as “casual fine dining” and served such that guests are encouraged to participate equally in creating their own tasting menu, basically a fancy way of saying “shared plates,” it was after perusing a list of eleven compositions that six were ordered, prices a bit higher than they probably should be but on par with other similarly awarded spots in The Windy City
Offering no Amuse, Bread service or formalities that might frighten Millennials, each plate intended to stand on its own but order determined by the kitchen to best create continuity, it was beginning with a silky Torchon of Duck Liver intended to be spread on fluffy Donuts glazed in Aperol that things got started, the addition of tart Rhubarb and under-ripened Strawberries cutting through the richness nicely while Jam and Gel both veered sweet in contrast.
Taking on big global flavors across the board, a plate designated Tandoori Octopus featuring supple Tentacles amidst an array of textures including pillowy Naan, Carrot Crisps and poignant aromatics in a variety of forms, it was not long after the plate was cleared that a pot of Bulgogi Short Rib was delivered, the Butterscotch prominent before mellowing and allowing beefy notes to develop though the “Sushi Rice” presented as a modernist Powder was an unnecessary bit of showmanship that added nothing to the dish.
Concluding savories with two slices of Duck at a cost of $32, the decision to serve this prior to Dessert bridging flavors thanks to the overwhelming sweetness of both White Chocolate and Strawberries, it was after finishing off the last Confit cube that Cheesecake dice underwhelmed in flavor and texture though “Aurora Bee Co. Honey” was exquisite from the creamy Panna Cotta to Ice Cream, Custard and crispy bits including both caramelized White Chocolate and Tostones.