700 North Sedgwick Street, Chicago, IL, 60654
Price: $$$$$
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Obelix - Chicago

Oliver Poilevey is the son of Jean-Claude and Susanne Poilevey, who for decades had brought French food to Chicago at restaurants like Le Bouchon and La Sardine. Now Oliver and brother Nicholas bring their skills in French kitchens to Obelix, a restaurant named after the French comic book character.

Poilevey's menu at at Obelix starts out with the traditional favorites: French onion soup, snails in garlic and butter, and pate en croute, which at Obelix is duck and boar in pastry, just fabulous. This is a French restaurant, so of course you see many of these standards (done to perfection), but you also spot some ways that Poilevey is presenting the expected ingredients in new and disarming ways. The macaron au foie gras is the duck liver, seared, and presented with a pink peppercorn macaron and date-citrus jam. Even more innovative is the Foie-Co: the seared foie gras nestled in a corn tortilla and dressed with salsa macha and Concord grape jam.

John Kessler, who wrote a glowing review of Obelix in Chicago Magazine, said that the house style uses traditional (though perhaps recently "rediscovered") international ingredients that "suggest a modern global vibe, but it’s the balanced seasoning and serious technique that make the food timeless. Black cod arrives buttery and crisp skinned, and its bed of green curry velouté and Okinawan sweet potato purée is precisely the rich, nonpushy stuff you want to swipe it through. A soft-shell crab, plump and crackly in a thin sheen of batter, is fresher and meatier than the last 10 soft-shell crabs I’ve eaten, and its Singapore chile glaze is neither too spicy nor too sweet to interfere with fried seafood love."

You can see that Poilevey is almost going for a global cuisine with a decidedly French accent. The wine list, however, is all French (Bordeaux Blanc, Beaujolais, etc.), though there are more American-leaning cocktails and some carefully selected beers.