Sunday, October 16, 2011

north pond - chicago, il
2610 north cannon drive
chicago, il 60614

for our last meal of a trip filled with wonderful meals, we hailed a cab from our hotel and enjoyed the ride along lake michigan before exiting the highway and entering chicago's lincoln park neighborhood. located in the middle of the park itself, our destination was chicago native chef bruce sherman's restaurant north pond. like chefs bayless and kahan (who's restaurant's we dined at the previous day), chef sherman has been recognized by the james beard foundation for his cooking, which is best described as contemporary french/american seasonal cuisine.

after being dropped at the corner of lakeview and deming (2600 n. lakeview), the restaurant was just a one or two minute walk into the park. with our reservation being about ten minutes away, we took our time and enjoyed the beautiful view of the city before making our way into the restaurant.

for sunday brunch, north pond offers a three course prixe fixe menu priced at $33 per person. the wines by the glass list is fairly short, and roughly a half dozen cocktails are offered.

while it looks as though i forgot to note the actual names of the cocktails we had, i do know that mine (left) was made with templeton rye, punt e mes sweet vermouth, campari, and orange bitters. this drink was sweet up front but more bitter on the finish than i would have preferred. carrie's drink, which was served in a wine glass, consisted of el dorado 15yr rum, citrus juices, angostura, rose wine, and falernum.

prior to our first courses, a lovely lemon pound cake was served. excellent in both texture and flavor, no one at the table wasted any time devouring their slice.

listed on the menu as 'celeriac, cranberry', my first course was a warm celeriac pear soup poured table side with a cranberry filled doughnut, candied pecans, and a celery salad. this was a nice first course with the sugar coated doughnut being crisp on the outside and giving way to the cranberry tartness within. the soup was subtly sweet from the pears but the celery flavor was the main taste i got, and it was good on its own or when consumed with the doughnut.

'shrimp, grits' was the choice of both carrie and my brother chris. this was chesapeake spiced gulf shrimp, jalapeno-cheddar grits, celery-pepper relish, and lobster bisque. i was unable to get a bite of this dish, but it was confirmed by both family members that it was fantastic.

for my main course, i selected 'pork,cinamon'. on the plate was grilled pork loin, andouille sausage, boudin noir, french lentils, apples, cipollini onion, and a cinnamon jus. this was an excellent main course with obviously a lot going on. the pork loin, which was the star of the dish for me, was impossibly tender and was fantastic when dipped in the cinnamon jus.

carrie chose 'mushroom, pear' as her main, which featured wild mushroom-uplands cheese quiche, sautéed leeks, red wine-cassis poached pear, and asian greens. being particularly hungry that morning, carrie did not need any help finishing this, so i can only comment on the poached pear i tasted, which was excellent.

'grape, peanut' was my dessert selection, and was a peanut butter pot de crème with jupiter grape jam, toasted brioche, meringue, and caramelized peanuts. this was obviously a bit of a play on a pbj, and as a lover of peanut butter, was right up my alley.

'carrot, ginger', a spiced carrot cake, with cream cheese mousse, gingersnaps, verbena emulsion, and toasted granola, was the dessert choice of both my wife and mother. while stating that it was not what either if them really expected, they both enjoyed the dessert with carrie particularly liking the gingersnap cookies.

as we lingered in the park for a bit enjoying both the weather and view, my family confirmed that i was five for five with my restaurant selections. aside from a cocktail that didn't quite fit my palate, everything i was served at north pond was excellent, and the rest of my family felt the same way. when the michelin guide made its first stop in chicago last year, there were many people that were surprised when north pond was not awarded a star. if chef sherman's dinner service is anything like his brunch, i would not be surprised to see north pond listed as a one star when the 2012 guide drops in a few weeks. 

North Pond on Urbanspoon

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