Day One Blackbird
Located in the West Loop, Paul Kahan's Blackbird has garnered deserved attention for almost 10 years. Several years ago, a second restaurant AVEC opened next door to similar praise. There is a new Chef de Cuisine at Blackbird, Mike Sheerin, who comes to the Chicago flock after three years as a sous chef in Wylie Dufresne's WD-50 in New York.
After a lovely 45 minute walk from the top of Michigan Ave’s Miracle Mile, I arrived ready for refreshment. I sat at the pristine white bar and took in the scene around me. It was bustling at 7 on a Tuesday night. After a Basil Hayden on the rocks, I plunged into a series of appetizers:
I drank a nice . Chateau Morgues du Gres 2002 Costieres de Nimes Rose with my first several courses and then transitioned to a 2005 Ridge Zinfandel.
Amuse Bouche: Pickled white fish over a green pea puree
west coast mussel soup with white fish, saffron, garlic and basil
Plump juicy mussels, Yukon gold potatoe rounds, and chunks of white fish swam in a light broth laced with saffron and a chiffonade of basil.
braised octopus with fresh hummus, charred ramps, sesame brittle and chickpeas
This dish was good, but didn’t deliver exactly what was promised- instead of a traditional chick pea hummus, fresh green peas made for a “green dish” that jumped off the plate. The charred ramps and sesame brittle delivered a combination of spicy and sweet, crunchy and soft, The octopus wasn’t exactly braised- there was a triangular terrine of octopus surrounded by several small arms. The terrine was tasty but a bit gummy- held together by what was described as “meat glue.”
crispy confit of swan creek farm suckling pig with cavollo nero, shaved chiogga beets, horseradish and banylus vinegar
wow- this is is some haute pork bbq- the taste was so elemental and pure- hard to describe- shaved discs of beets topped the confit pig and crowned an incredible dish, The bed of cavallo nero was a slightly bitter and perfect companion to the sweet pork, made sweeter still by the banyuls vinegar
Meyer Lemon Mousse with white chocolate, fennel and citrus
A nice combination of flavors and textures, the plate was sprinkled with a surprise dusting of dried calamata olives.