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DISH: SAVOR Entente; lunch at Michael Jordan's
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Ty Fujimura is at it again.

His Japanese restaurant Arami—considered by some to be one of the best of its kind in Chicago—is thriving. However, another Japanese spot of his ( Lake View's Ani ) has been "reconceived," as they say. Entente ( 3056 N. Lincoln Ave.; ) is the result, with Fujimura teaming with Chef Brian Fisher ( formerly of Schwa ) to create a dish that's distinctly American—and alluringly contemporary.

The decor is pretty contemporary as well, somehow radiating sleekness and efficiency ( down to the hostess and servers ). The drink menu is entertaining, in terms of the names of some of the cocktails, such as the Key Master and Peggy Loves Steve; the drinks were intriguing—with the former being a mix of Mizu lemongrass shochu, English pea, mint and bitter lemon tonic.

As for the food, Entente may prove to be a haven for the indecisive, as there are only about a dozen appetizers and entrees combined. ( By the way, patrons are asked to order all items at once to basically help things proceed as smoothly as possible, and I actually like that approach. )

But those items are prepared wonderfully. The green garbanzo hummus is a visual and gustatory delight, coupled with a fruit-and-nut flatbread ( in this case, almond-and-apricot ). The Slagel Farms shortrib ( with cashew puree and oyster stout ) is a standout, as is the skate—a dish I had returned at the last spot I tried. This skate dish incoporates the cheeks of the fish instead of the wings, and is teamed with fennel, grapefruit and licorice. Regarding dessert, top things off with a delicious ( and suitably moist ) tres leches cake.

Michael Jordan's for lunch

Walked by Michael Jordan's Steakhouse ( 505 N. Michigan Ave.; ) and thought about entering—only to be deterred for some reason?

Well, I'm urging people to check out the spot. An unexpected luncheon there revealed a couple surprises worth mentioning.

First, do not skip the salads. My dining companion and I tried the spinach salad, complete with andouille sausage and pecans. The nuts were actually so good ( with a wonderfully smoky tang ) that this restaurant is officially the only place where I will eat pecans. ( The only nuts I regularly like are almonds. )

Second ( and this may sound surprising ), the cheeseburger is outstanding. Now, I've had my share of burgers—and the steak house item ( a blend of chuck, brisket and shortrib ) is stellar.

On the restaurant's website, it says, "Excellence Served Daily." I believe that now.

Note: Restaurant profiles/events are based on invitations arranged from restaurants and/or firms.

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