[Photo: 555 International]
While their casual breakfast spot Eggy's is slated to open next month, Peter Drohomyrecky and Sue Kim-Drohomyrecky are simultaneously working on building out Maison.
Maison, which will focus on everyday French fare, will be broken up into two areas, a bar and a dining room, all designed by 555 International's Karen Herold. Guests will walk into a central area greeting them with a large glass wall with a "maison" sign. The bar, to the left, has a mostly white, grey and black color scheme, but also has a lot of wood throughout. The approximately 45-seat area has an upscale residential kitchen feeling because the Drohomyreckys want you to feel like you're relaxing in their home—if their home had a white marble-topped 13-seat bar.
The bar, with its distressed light French wood tables, white wood floors and chalkboard-painted back bar, will have a more casual relaxed vibe. Its windows will look out on a wraparound patio, that come mid-summer will hold a great 70-seat patio. Guests will be able to dine on chef Perry Hendrix's casual French fare for lunch and dinner and enjoy a mostly French wine list, with 30 glass pours and six on tap. Kim-Drohomyrecky has been working with Charles Bieler from the Gotham Project to create the price-conscious wine program that will feature 70 bottles and also offer tap wine by the quartino, half and liter.
Across the way, the 80-seat dining room is a little more upscale, yet still very approachable. Walking through the glass entrance, guests immediately get taken back to a small French cottage through a handful of hanging lamps covered in resin-dipped lace doilies. The cozy factor is carried throughout through four alcohol-powered fireplaces, an arched floating ceiling, black lacquered wood tables with red linen-covered chairs a gorgeous view overlooking Benton Park.
One round table in the center of the room will act as the bread service station and hold fresh warm baguettes, salt, butter and French radishes that all tables will receive upon sitting. The radishes, by the way, will come from a garden in the park that will be run by kids from a local school; the restaurant, in turn, will buy the produce from the kids and proceeds will benefit their school and the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
Hendrix, who is also the executive chef at Custom House Tavern, is getting back to his French roots (he was the opening chef at St. Louis' Brasserie by Niche). Lunch items, which will range from $6 to $26, will include dishes like chicken liver terrine with red onion confiture; baguette with aged ham; tarte flambe with creme fraiche, caramelized onion and smoked gizzard confit; trout with French beans and marcona almonds; and, of course, a Croque Madame with aged ham, gruyere and a fried egg on brioche.
At dinner, dishes become more refined with items like cured arctic char; steak tartare; sauteed venison liver; and a bistro steak frites. Between lunch and dinner, pastry chef Erin Mooney will offer various French pastries at the bar. At other times, look for her more decadent items like the Floating Island (Grand Marnier, fresh berries and honey) and the vanilla bean creme brulee.
"This is the kind of food that I like eating everyday," Hendrix said. "I've traveled a fair amount in France and it speaks to one's soul. For me, it's very satisfying food. You're not making a statement with this food; you're just making dinner."
· Custom House Tavern Owners Openings Eggy's in April [~EChi~]