Enjoy the luxurious two-star Michelin restaurant RIA in the fabulously chic Waldorf Astoria Chicago with one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs 2012 Danny Grant. Then go try Balsan – RIA’s hip casual-yet-sophisticated little sister, sharing the same kitchen.
Balsan’s rustic artisanal menu, crisp easy-going service, and a gregarious atmosphere for which Chicago is known make for a winning combination. Looking for a place to hang out when you attend the National Restaurant Association SHOW next month?
This is the place.
Balsan noticed Coco Chanel in Moulins and became her lover. They remained friends throughout their lives. In 1909, when Chanel settled in Paris, he lent her his bachelor flat on the ground floor, 160 Boulevard Malesherbes, and helped her to open a boutique in Deauville. (from wikipedia here)
We chose to dine at a table, but on another visit we just might sit at the bar.
*a sleek bistro ambiance
Fans of this Spanish grape must try this wine, our favorite, from a small estate (under 2,000 cases) produced from old vines and using natural yeast to respect the flavors of the terroir.
“Pazo de Galegos 2010 Albariño was fermented with native yeasts and went through partial malolactic fermentation. Fragrant lemon, floral, and mineral aromas inform the nose of this smooth-textured, round, ripe, and savory offering. Nicely proportioned and lengthy, this outstanding value will provide pleasure over the next 4 years.” The Wine Advocate
Choose Fruits de Mer from a raw bar brimming with Hawaiian prawns, lobster, oysters, clams and crab, as well as a seasonal crudo – this night – tuna with avocado, radish, coriander. Select from a discerning variety of Charcuterie & Cheese including pheasant and oxtail terrines, duck rillette, prosciutto, speck, and salumi as well as impeccably-chosen artisan cheeses.
*don’t pass up this über-smoky-garlicky dip
*a delightful combination of flavors, colors, and textures
* the veal – extraordinary marriage of crisp plus melt-in-the-mouth
small plate: wood oven charred sepia, cannellini beans, chorizo, arugula
* bean aficionados will swoon
*davida’s top pick
with perfect frites, ketchup & aioli
large plate: grilled rainbow trout, ramps, artichoke, burnt orange
*bright, captivating, balanced
The pastry was created in 1891 to commemorate the Paris–Brest–Paris bicycle race. Its circular shape is representative of a wheel. It became popular with riders on the Paris-Brest cycle race, partly because of its energy-giving high calorific value, and is now found in pâtisseries all over France.
“Perhaps the tastiest of all great French pastries, created a hundred years ago to honor a bicycle race. Assembled to order, which I’ve never seen done in a French patisserie. Wheel-shaped choux pastry stuffed with hazelnut mousse and hazelnut nougatine, topped with powdered sugar and toasted hazelnuts. Will have your wheels spinning.” Alan Richman
Alan Richman of GQ Magazine named the Paris-Brest pastry at Balsan, Chicago the best dessert in the U.S. for 2010. (from wikipedia here)
butterscotch pots de creme, pecan sandies, creme fraiche
*thank you all for the sweet birthday wishes