Chicago: Blackbird

Blackbird is a hip little Michelin Star restaurant in Chicago. 

Great concepts…okay execution.  The food was pretty good, but overly salty.  I more often encounter restaurants that are too stingy with their salt, but being too generous with salt portions can be equally, if not more, mortifying. 



Pictured above are both the regular menu, as well as the tasting menu.  We opted for the tasting.



Venison Consomme and Turnover.
Venison was clearly the theme of the night, being incorporated in almost every dish.  The broth of the consomme was fantastic.  We weren’t quite sure what we were supposed to do with them together, so we ended up dipping the turnover in the broth. It was a great start to our dinner, with surprisingly no gamey taste. 



Skate Wing.
The fish was amazing!  The charred pomelo was a fabulous addition to the fish, as it added tropical citrus.  This was the beginning of the salt problem for me.  It wasn’t too obvious, but the salt was definitely noticeable.  The oyster was cooked perfectly too.  I am not the biggest fan of cooked oysters, but Blackbird did it right, and I wanted more.  My only issue with it was that it felt misplaced.  It’s just kind of hanging out on the rim, lonely, on top of some random puree.  Tasty, but incredibly random, and not well incorporated. 



Crisp grains with fennel, vanilla, and lonza.
The sun was starting to go down, and my natural light was dissipating, as can be seen by the bad lighting.  This dish was reminiscent of vanilla oatmeal, with little sliced grapes and prosciutto. Super strange combination…I wasn’t a fan.



Foie with hazelnut, epresso, and turnip.
Good.  Interesting.  The foie was very rich and creamy, I suppose it may have been a foie gras torchon based on the consistency and shape. The espresso and hazelnut worked surprisingly well with this.  Would I order it again? EH. 



Venison sausage, rye, and fermented cranberry.
I believe these were wrapped in bacon. The lollipop concept was very cute, and the sausage was amazing!  Especially with the crisp outside from the bacon.  The fermented cranberry was a a little disappointing.  It tasted like a really concentrated plum sauce, that was both incredibly tart and incredibly salty all at the same time. 



Brussel sprouts with citrus, cashew, and smoked roe.
I did not like this.  You shaved some brussel sprouts and threw some ikura on there…so what?  It tasted like wilted cabbage with some fish oil.  NOT impressed. I feel like this was a sad attempt to sit at the cool kid’s table.  You have a Michelin StarDon’t serve this shit in your restaurant.




Spruce scented venison chops with parsnips, sherry, and mustard.
This was the most overly salted dish of the night.  I literally scraped salt off the top of this.  The gravy was nice and light, the parsnips [or potato…whatever that starch was] were well prepared.  Nice and fluffy, and paired well with everything.  The meat was a nice texture and flavor…..once you get all that salt off, that is.  Not bad.



Cherry wine sorbet with raspberry and blackberry.

Great palette cleanser. 



Fromage blanc, cheesecake, burnt toast ice cream, and apricot.
I don’t know what to say about this.  It wasn’t anything that blew my mind.

I know towards the end of the entry it seemed almost like I gave up trying to write anything….but that is totally reflective of how I felt about their food.  Dessert is the last course you have, so it is the most fresh in your mind.  If it doesn’t leave a POW in your memories or in your mouth, the last impression then affects your first impression, and that impression is not a good one. 

Overall this place was alright.  Would I have given them a Michelin Star?  Nope.



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