Tuesday, May 26, 2009

North Pond

North Pond Exterior 2

Typically when blogging about a trip's eats I like to follow the course of the trip from beginning to end, creating a "virtual photo album" if you will. However in the case of our recent visit to Chicago, I simply must start at the end, and a restaurant which successfully combines atmosphere and approach for one particularly noteworthy meal.

Situated in Lincoln Park, North Pond is housed in a circa 1912 former ice skating shack, aptly located at the north end of a pond. The restaurant operates on a seasonal schedule, offering dinner and Sunday brunch year-round, and adding a weekday lunch service June through September.

Chef Bruce Sherman's manner of cooking with what's fresh, local and in season is rooted in the three and a half years he spent living in New Delhi, India. Through daily jaunts to the corner vegetable vendor, Sherman learned to develop meals around what was available. The experience, combined with his subsequent education at Ecole Superieure de Cuisine Francaise, has been parlayed into a positively inviting, creative restaurant which should be at the top of every culinary list when visiting the Windy City.

To toast a friend's milestone birthday we visited North Pond for Sunday brunch and the three course prix-fixe menu for $32. Though the menu is prix-fixe, the range of selections we found on this particular Sunday offered a diverse array of options for those with a hankering for sweet, savory or a little bit of both.

First things first: the view of downtown Chicago from North Pond's porch.

Steak, Egg
Steak and Egg - Poached Farm Egg, grilled Hanger Steak Medallions, Artisanal Grits, Spring Onions, Frisée

A refined take on homestyle cooking.

Ramps, Cheese at North Pond
Ramps, Cheese - Wild Ramp-Uplands Cheese and Prosciutto Crêpes, Potato Chips, Watercress Salad, Cherry Vinaigrette

With seasonal delicacies like ramps and cherries this dish was a fitting celebration of spring, and proof positive of Sherman's culinary style.

Lemon, Strawberries - Lemon Curd Tartelette, Strawberry Jam, Toasted Pistachios, White Chocolate, Meringue

A thoughtful and well-executed work of art. The tangy combination of flavors served to cleanse my palette following the rich crêpes.

I recommend making reservations when visiting North Pond, and in doing so, you may even receive special arrangements. In the case of our meal, we arrived to find that our menus had been printed with a personalized message for the birthday girl in our group, and the server even brought her a glass of bubbly, compliments of the house. Now that's my idea of a celebration.

- K

North Pond
2610 N. Cannon Drive
Chicago, IL 60614

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