Great restaurants make you feel like splurging. They encourage you to order more elaborately than usual, linger longer at the table, and give in to the organic rhythms and in-the-moment pleasures of a fine meal. Obélix is the greatest new restaurant in Chicago for all these reasons and more. The Poilevey brothers, Oliver (the executive chef) and Nicolas (the wine director), whose late parents blessed the city with the snug French charmer Le Bouchon, have both the training and the instincts for hospitality, and the many veteran servers on their staff help them see their vision through.
More than anything, the brothers have a canny understanding of the zeitgeist, and their expensive but not stupid expensive French bistro works as a joyful splurge for so many different kinds of diners. For some younger folks whose palates are just awakening to miracle flavors, that means a perfectly seared lobe of foie gras in a taco, or a truffle supplement for brunch French toast. For others, it’s a storied wine poured by the glass, or a callback to classics such as leeks vinaigrette or squab pithiviers in sauce Périgord.
The brothers made a smart hire in chef de cuisine Nathan Kim, a rising star who combines today’s more world-aware flavors with classic techniques. An apple galette with raclette cheese, onions, and black truffle simultaneously defies and honors tradition, and it is one of the many dishes that give this one-of-a-kind spot its claim to greatness. 700 N. Sedgwick St.