Bonsoiree- Good… but Michelin star good? Hmmm…

I liked Bonsoiree.  Liked being the operative word here.  Did I love Bonsoiree?  Mmmm…naaah.  Now, don’t get me wrong, it was definitely good.  It just wasn’t AMAZING… relatively speaking.  There’s just a certain expectation when a restaurant has a Michelin star that make you…well, expect a lot.

I mean, L20 has a single Michelin star.  As does Tru.  I would not put these restaurants in the same category with Bonsoiree.  The service was very casual and nonchalant.  And the food was good, as I said, just not Michelin-worthy (and clearly my opinion counts on this matter;).

But anyway, here’s what we had:

First, a smoked trout fritter with pink peppercorn-yuzu buerre blanc.  The fritter was flavorful but the rest was lost.  The buerre blanc was tasty on it’s own, but you had to hunt for its presence when eaten with the smoky fish.

 

Bonsoiree, Chicago

The mosaic of tuna carpaccio was fun.  I suppose they had to create a “consumer advisory” plate since menus don’t really exist.  I alway like mixing and matching flavor combos on one plate.  I got to play with a roasted “superman” tomato (named for its loose peel), pickled ramps (a true springtime ingredient), salty lardons (that’s really largely diced salt pork or bacon), and a savory sauce.

Bonsoiree, Chicago

The broth on the green curry poached John Dory with Manila clam was probably my second favorite bite of the night.  I’m not sure what a ‘fried tamari yolk’ is, but it was pretty darn tasty, too.

Bonsoiree, Chicago

Tasting through the bento box was fun, too.  I can’t help it.  I like to try a lot of different things.  The asparagus salad and the lightly dressed, cold noodles were my fave.  The octopus and snails were decent.  I could have lived without the potato and my piece of ‘waygu’ left a ball of string in my mouth after 5 minutes of chewing.  No thanks.

Bonsoiree, Chicago

Oh yeah!  The spring pea and asparagus soup was also delicious.  I’m a sucker for good pea soup.  And the roasted multi-color cauliflower florets were beautiful, as well.

We had a split decision on the next course.  The man loved the scallop and crab baked with its homemade aioli.  It kinda made me want to barf.  Sorry.  It could have something to do, however, with the fact that, as a culinary school instructor, I ingest way more homemade mayo than any one human should ever have to.  Ever.  Baaaa.

Bonsoiree, Chicago

The veal was nice.  The best part was the leek and rhubarb confit.  I licked that part clean in about one minute.  I wasn’t into the smoked duck croquet… a little greasy for me… but the big hunk of foie was nicely done.  And morels, on their own, are always nice to have.  Maybe it just seemed like there was too much going on without much continuity.

Bonsoiree, Chicago

I liked the way they transitioned from savory to sweet.  Rather than doing a palate cleanser like a sorbet or something, the came out with a course that was half sweet and half savory.  It was Explorateur, that delicious, soft, gooey cheese with a bite of Exporateur cheesecake and a sweet strawberry compote.

While delicious, the desserts were not Michelin quality.  If I was a bettin’ woman, I’d say these desserts were made by a cook, not a pastry chef.  They were a little sloppy, and kinda… how can I explain… without finesse.

Bonsoiree, Chicago

The chocolate presentation, too, was fun, but not elegant.  I was a little more “rustic” than you’d expect from an otherwise beautifully platted dinner.

Bonsoiree, Chicago

And honestly, the best bite of the entire thing was the very last.  This little taste of ice cream with black sea salt was outstanding!   I should’ve asked if they’d sell me a pint. :)

Bonsoiree, Chicago

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