Blackbird – Near West Side, Chicago

Time: Sunday. May 25, 2014. 7:30 PM. Reservation.
Location: Near West Side, Chicago
Address: 619 W Randolph St
Cuisine:  American (New)
Party Size:  2 (M&V)
Order:  2 tasting menu, 1 glass of wine
Pre-tip Cost: $281 [$254 food & drink; $27 tax]
Verdict:  Good food, chic environment, touch spendy.

Blackbird was selected as our “Chicago date night” and defaulted into our choice after not being able to get a reservation at Girl and the Goat or Alinea.   I will also add that I am writing this post almost two weeks after the meal so it might end up being more pictures and less content (no long winded introduction either).

My first impression Blackbird after entering was it has a sleek design.  The interior was cut  by sharp lines and the white walls gave a bright, more casual/less romantic feel.  All in, very futuristic.


The menu has a selection of appetizers and entrees that cover a variety of meats and veg.  Blackbird also offers an eight course tasting menu (which we ordered) that plucks the offerings from the regular menu.  Both menus change frequently.  Looking over the posted menu on Blackbird’s website today, about half has turned over.

string pea panisse with green garlic aioli and pea tendrils


This was the amuse-bouche that was considered the first course on the tasting menu.

arctic char crudo with white aspagarus, buckwheat, rhubarb vinegar, and miner’s lettuce


tempura soft shell crab with chanterelle mushrooms, cucumber, dill creme fraiche, and charred orange



steamed halibut with cabbage, broccoli, sprouted wheat berries and powdered sauerkraut



The powdered sauerkraut was a thing of beauty.

schmaltz-poached chicken breast and leg with smoked vidalia onion, king trumpet mushrooms, green garbanzos, and pistachios


grilled striploin with blistered fava beans, walnut gnocchi, and grated wasabi



The wasabi had a great flavor without the heat that is associated with the garnish thanks to sushi.  The gnocchi were soft and rich and loaded with umami.

fermented rhubarb with ginger ice and puffed rice


bittersweet chocolate pudding with mascarpone cream, espresso crunch, hickory nuts, and sumbuca



This dish reminded me of a course at Atelier Crenn, very earthy look and taste.

Blackbird is one of the 25 or so Michelin starred Chicago restaurants.  The overall food quality, both taste and preparation, support the rating but I would give Longman & Eagle the edge in a head to head.

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