Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dedicated to Organic & Sustainable: Chalkboard Restaurant

Even though we enjoyed dinner at Chalkboard Restaurant in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago last night at 5:00 p.m., my husband and I aren't senior citizens. We were having a celebratory dinner with our son before heading off to an early poetry reading on the westside.

As we entered, a gaggle of 20-something women were getting ready to leave after holding a bridal shower at the restaurant during its afternoon tea session. We were the first to arrive for the dinner seating and had the whole place to ourselves for awhile.

Chalkboard, a long, cozy room of simple, yet highly tasteful elegance, reminded my husband and I of the Fritz & Frites bistro we had fallen in love with during a recent weekend in Galena, Ill. Chalkboard is what it says, its menu a huge chalkboard wall, divided into appetizers and entrees, changing daily and actually before our eyes. The changeability of the menu reflects dishes prepared "as much as possible" from organic and sustainable foods in season or of particular availability from local suppliers.

Selections vary from emphasis on nouvelle cuisine to southern comfort. The chef, Gilbert, received some of his culinary indoctrination in the south, and offers an utterly delicious southern fried chicken and gouda mac and cheese as regular standbys. The chicken reminded me of the fabulous "Chicken in the Rough" recipe I cherished as a child, which originated in Oklahoma City. Actually, Chalkboard's is much better, making theirs using free-range chicken, teamed with collard greens and heaped mashed potatoes with sausage gravy to die for.

Two of us noshed on the house salad, made mainly of baby argula and garnished with a simple olive oil, lemon and parmesan dressing, of which its tastes together excelled its parts. Entree-wise, my son opted for the organic pork tenderloin with creamed corn dotted with red peppercorns and sprinkled with arugula. The expression of bliss remained on his face throughout his meal. My husband enjoyed the vegetable pot pie, served in a sizeable black bucket, using chunky pieces and/or whole organic beans, carrots, brussel sprouts and cauliflower.

A "dessert" of foie gras in caramel sauce was recommended. Amusingly, it arrived at the table with upright squares of toast and foie gras balanced atop looking like a small Stonehenge. Upon eating, it really didn't do it for me, but my son thought it was spectacular.

Service was top-notch from our server, Nick, who in a friendly, easy fashion explained dinner details that appeared on the chalkboard and made wine recommendations when asked. We really liked the place and look forward to bringing friends along for our next visit. 4343 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago.



Anonymous said...

hi guys so happy to be between you yayaay love the blog soo much ^^

Anonymous said...

What a great resource!

Anonymous said...

very useful article. I would love to follow you on twitter.

Anonymous said...

Understandably your article helped me very much in my college assignment. Hats afar to you enter, wish look ahead for more cognate articles soon as its one of my pet subject-matter to read.