Bistro Monadnock - Chicago
Bistro Monadnock is the newest in a line of French restaurants to open in the city in the past few years. Located in the historic Monadnock Building, Bistro Monadnock carries on the tradition of Gallic culinary excellence that was once -- and for many still is -- the hallmark of fine dining in the United States.
Started by three brothers -- John, Karl, and Graeme Fehr -- who own and operate the classy, cockail-centric bars Victor and Love Street, Bistro Monadnock represents a return to classic French cuisine. Well-executed dishes of traditional, recognizable and revered French standards are the best reason we can think of to dine at Bistro Monadnock...that, and the fact that the restaurant is located in the internationally regarded, 130-year-old Monadnock Building.
Dinner can start with the traditional favorites. -- escargots, frog legs, and oysters -- although there are a few mild surprises like smoked walleye and a beet salad with wonderfully aromatic cheese.
The main courses prepared under the direction of Chef Johnny Besch, are mostly taken from the classic cookbooks that have put France at the top of the culinary pyramid, like Parisian gnocchi, striped bass and steak frites. There are also more casual options like the bistro burger.
There is, of course (!), a wine list that, aside from a Rioja, is pretty much 100% French, including some classics like the Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe "La Crau" Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Paul Pernot, ‘Folatieres’ Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru.
Eater Chicago reports that "The soup, salad, and sandwiches are dominated by classics, from an already sought-after French onion soup to frisee aux lardons to buttery Croque Madame. There are a few surprises, like a banh mi club (shokupan, ‘nduja, pickled vegetables) and Le Rachel, a Reuben riff with pastrami and caraway rye. Larger plates include a bouillabaisse with lobster head broth (a recipe Besch learned from Ducasse), steak frites, Parisian gnocchi, and Cornish hen."