Two Sides of the Same Franc
Here’s the news on Rendezvous Bistro (2656 W. Lawrence Ave.; 773-561-4400), a new traditional French spot in Ravenswood, followed by Pollack’s first impressions from her visit:
News: Rendezvous’ owner, Simon Yacobi, worked at Kiki’s Bistro for 24 years, first as a waiter to earn pocket money while at the University of Illinois–Chicago, and eventually as a manager. He brought in Bernardo Lopez, a former sous chef at Kiki’s, to run the kitchen. The menu covers the classics: coq au vin, steak au poivre, and a duck breast/leg confit combo, as well as opera cake and tarte Tatin for dessert. The place has 50 seats and is BYO.
Opinion: It’s small, intimate, charming and the real deal. I had a ragoût of wild mushrooms over house-made puff pastry to start and pasta provençale for my entrée. The shrimp on the pasta were superfluous, but I can’t discuss the sauces without weeping with pleasure. Mr. Dining went with cream of asparagus–green pepper soup and poulet rôti with zillions of crispy pommes frites. The chicken came with braised red cabbage. Neither of us likes cabbage but it came with the chicken, so we tried it—and we loved it. I wanted to try everything. (Caveat: The bread was lame, but all that means is that I didn’t fill up on it.) –Penny Pollack
Eight Questions for Vincent Colombet
Colombet plans to open La Boulangerie (2569 N. Milwaukee Ave.; no phone yet), a new Logan Square bakery, in mid-June. He also owns Cook au Vin (2256 N. Elston Ave.; 773-489-3141), which offers cooking classes and catering.
D: Why are you opening La Boulangerie? What are the limitations of Cook au Vin?
VC: Right now we just have a kitchen for cooking classes and a bakery where we make bread. We don’t do retail.
D: So who buys your bread?
VC: Restaurants only.
D: Which restaurants?
VC: Lucky restaurants.
D: And La Boulangerie will be a café?
VC: Not a café. A bakery. We are going to sell bread and crêpes. And French pastries. We are going to have a true bakery, as in France, with a very wide selection of bread.
D: What is Bread-Flix?
VC: A delivery program. Like Netflix but for bread. You go online and you say, I want bread Wednesday, Saturday, and Monday. [And then] we deliver your bread at the time you request.
D: It’s a membership?
VC: Yes, but no fee. Two [orders] a week, minimum.
D: How does the bread get delivered?
VC: By bicycle. Area will be Logan Square and Bucktown for now. Then we will see.
“A French cook passes almost everything through a sieve, and according to the theory of evolution, he will himself one day pass through the sieve and become a purée.” –E. S. Dallas (1828-1879), British journalist
NiceSlice on Ice
NiceSlice PizzaBar (2210 N. California Ave.; 773-276-5625), in Logan Square right next to the California stop on the Blue Line, hasn’t fixed its opening date. “Since I was hoping to open last May, I guess I am not the one to be forecasting any more opening dates. It had better be in June, though,” says Russ Grant, a co-owner. (The same team owns Simone’s in Pilsen.) When it’s open, NiceSlice will offer Neapolitan pizza with toppings in both the sausage-mushroom vein and the artichoke-fig vein. Grant says the “head pizza dude” is David Arons, who runs the pizza kitchen at the Whole Foods mothership in Lincoln Park. Here’s hoping he brings the Whole Foods concept of free samples along with him.
An Open Letter to Dudley Nieto
I’m sure you’d be the first to admit you’re a well-traveled chef. We’ve loved your food in the past, even if it’s been hard work keeping track of you (Zocalo, Xel-Ha , Zapatista, Adobo Grill, Chapultepec, Blue Mesa, Hacienda Tecalitlan, Tony & Brunos, Chapulin). Admittedly, it was a good move to jump ship from Eivissa before it closed.
We’ll visit La Fonda del Gusto (1408 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-278-6100), your latest stop. “Right now, I’m in the creating a new menu,” you told us. “Using more of the food from Yucatán and Michoacán.” Sounds delicious. But please, just stay there until we can try the food.
What, No Petting Zoo?
Rita’s American Roadhouse (1211 Butterfield Rd., Downers Grove; 630-515-1177), a west-suburban food-and-entertainment place opening June 4th, must be using “American” in its name to mean “melting pot.” Larry Spatz, a managing partner of Rita’s and former principal in the Baja Beach Club nightclub chain, says, “It’s a multiple entertainment concept that includes dining, piano bar, dance club, mechanical bull, and staff entertainment.” The restaurant within Rita’s will be called Mama Romano’s Kitchen, where Patti Romanow will prepare the pizza and pasta from her bygone Spaghetti Bowl. As with Baja, the ownership plans to turn Rita’s into a chain.
On the Blog
• A new bar called The Bar 10 Doors and restaurant called One.Six One are on tap for Little Italy in the coming weeks.
Things to Do
1. Eat, drink, and watch a film at Movies in the Loft at Bin 36 (339 N. Dearborn St.; 312-755-9463) on May 14th at 6:30 p.m. For $48, you get a three-course dinner with wine pairings, all thematically connected to the feature presentation, Eat Drink Man Woman. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 312-755-9463.
2. Fix your price at $20 for a three-course (plus-one-amuse) prix fixe menu on Wednesdays at the Logan Square BYO Knew (2556 W. Fullerton Ave.; 773-772-7721).
3. Learn how to make a cake the stop-motion-animation way. No idea what this festival is, but hey, cool video.
Dot Dot Dot . . .
The Greektown breakfast-lunch-brunch spot Meli Café has a second location planned for Grand and Wells (540 N. Wells St.; 312-527-1850), to open some time around late June, probably. . . . Signs posted on the front of Cuatro (2030 S. Wabash Ave.; 312-842-8856) say “Warning: This business’ certificate of registration is hereby revoked,” and no one there returns our calls. . . . Steve Dolinsky reported that Spring (2039 W. North Ave.; 773-395-7100) is for sale. Peter Drohomyrecky, a co-owner, says the restaurant will remain open until the sale closes . . . On a more upbeat note, Cumin (1414 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-342-1414) is opening Saturday and Cookie Bar (2475 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-348-0300) will open its doors Tuesday, May 18 at 11:30 a.m.
14 hours ago