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Caviar Is In—and Not Just for the Super Rich

A spike in domestic production makes this salty delicacy available for any budget.

Iranian Pearl Asetra 000 caviar, chips, and garnishes at BLVD
Iranian Pearl Asetra 000 caviar, chips, and garnishes at BLVD Photos: Jeff Marini

Caviar is no longer just for the very rich. A spike in domestic production has spawned many affordable, high-quality options for cured fish eggs, letting cost-conscious diners enjoy this salty delicacy. “We want to take it off its pedestal,” says Guy Meikle, the owner of Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar, one of a growing number of new places putting caviar front and center on the menu. Willing to spend? There are more high-end imported options available now, too. No matter your budget, you’ll be able to get a taste of this once-rarefied luxury.

Vol. 39 caviar

1. Vol. 39

39 S. La Salle St.

Choose from the caviar and Champagne cart in this Loop bar, and order quantities as small as a quarter ounce. The American hackleback ($10 for a quarter ounce) has an exhilarating pop. If smooth and creamy is more your style, try the kaluga ($18 for a quarter ounce). $$$

 

BLVD caviar

2. BLVD

817 W. Lake St.

This glam West Loop spot offers three options, including rare Iranian Pearl Asetra 000 ($220 per ounce), the closest you’ll get to almost-impossible-to-find wild beluga caviar, says chef Johnny Besch. The prized roe is served on a three-tiered tray stacked high with chips and blini. $$$$$

 

Café Marie-Jeanne caviar

3. Café Marie-Jeanne

1001 N. California Ave.

Bowfin caviar is an all-day treat here. Add a dollop to a breakfast sandwich or omelet for $5, try a 10-gram portion ($12 with garnishes), or go all in at brunch with the caviar toast ($20). “My goal is to get people slathering salty fish eggs on as many things as possible,” says chef-owner Mike Simmons. $

 

The Press Room caviar

4. The Press Room

1134 W. Washington Blvd.

Owner George Saldez wanted something “fun and a little fancy” to round out the menu at this rustic-chic West Loop establishment. He settled on white sturgeon roe ($50 for 10 grams) and Siberian sturgeon caviar ($70 for 10 grams) from Calvisius, an Italian producer. Saldez says either pairs beautifully with Burrata and Champagne. $$$$

 

Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar

5. Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar

2700 W. Chicago Ave.

The selection of caviar and uncured fish roe runs at least a dozen items deep at this Humboldt Park spot, with à la carte offerings starting at $10 (for 15 grams of domestic bowfin or whitefish roe). Platters showcase caviar in 12- or 30-gram portions, which come with housemade black bread, potato chips, pickles, and various minced accoutrements. $$

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