Those fluent in French probably know what Taureaux Tavern ( 155 W. Van Buren St.; TaureauxTavern.com ) is all aboutespecially when its location is considered.
Nestled in the Loops' financial district, the spot's name ( which is French for "bull" ) becomes a bit clearer, with the bull and bear markets that are part of everyday life at the nearby stock exchange and Board of Trade. ( In fact, two of the dishes at Taureaux are the seafood-focused Le Bear and Le Bull towers. )
Although there are certainly French dishes at Taureaux, American and event Italian plates are present as well. Appetizers are impressive, with offerings such as escargot Taureaux ( served in the shell, with garlic butter, bread crumbs and parmesan ), steak tartare andmy favoritethe foie gras pate, with apple mostarda that provided a memorable contrast. ( All are accompanied by slices of bread that provided the perfect platforms for spreading and/or dipping. ) The only item that fell somewhat short was the oeuf mayonnaise caviara dish consisting of an eight-minute egg, maple syrup, osetra caviar and garlic-egg aioli that only provided a faint burst of flavor for both of us.
However, after all the upscale food, I settled for the Gold Label burgerand the concoction ( prime chuck, thick-cut American cheese and caramelized truffle onions on a sesame brioche bun ) was one of the best burgers I've had in a city that specializes in them. The juicy roast chicken was similarly wonderful, confirming that sometimes simple is best.
And if you have room for dessert, please try either the flourless chocolate cake or the financier. Taureaux scores with both items.
As for the cocktail, Sympathy for the Devil ( Glenmorangie 10 year, brovo ginger, pear puree, lemon and cardamom bitters ) is a refreshing must-try. My friend tried mine and immediately ordered one for himself.
I hope to return to Taureaux for breakfast, which has everything from croque Madame to S'mores waffleand that's no bull.
Black Restaurant Week through Feb. 17
Chicago Black Restaurant Week is running through Feb. 17.
Last year, 26 restaurants participated, with more than $11,000 being spent, according to the website. This year, 38 spots are taking part.
Just a few of the restaurants that are involved include Nadia's Gourmet Grapes, 841 W. 103rd St.; AJ's Southern Dining, 117 N. 19th Ave. ( Melrose Park ); Luella's Southern Kitchen, 4609 N. Lincoln Ave.; Irie Jerk Bar & Grill, 3404 N. Clark St.; Haire's Gulf Shrimp, 7448 S. Vincennes Ave.; LiFE Food 3858, 3858 W. Madison St.; Signature Sweets Factor, 514 E. 162nd St. ( South Holland ); Kiss My Dish Soul Kitchen, 4542 Rt. 71 ( Oswego ); and The Bureau Bar & Restaurant, 724 S. Maxwell St.
See chiBlackrestaurantweek.com/ .
Valentine's Day special: The Kitchen
Don't have an idea where to take your sweetheart for Valentine's Day ( Feb. 14 )? Then, try The Kitchen Bistro ( 316 N. Clark St.; www.thekitchenbistros.com/location/the-kitchen-chicago/ ) .
In addition to its regular menu, there are special items for that day, including Belgian endive salad, pan-roasted filet, seared scallops and Manila clams, and molten chocolate souffle. Each of these dishes has something intriguing to offer that will add dimension to your mealand your evening.
Note: Restaurant profiles/events are based on invitations arranged from restaurants and/or firms.