When a restaurant is named for a famous Dutch artist, if you take away the cuisine from his homeland, can you still keep the name? In the case of Vincent, the answer is yes. The quaint Andersonville restaurant started to change its very Dutch-heavy menu last year when original chef/partner Joncarl Lachman, who has Dutch roots, decided to step away and focus his attention on Lakeview restaurant HB Home Bistro. He is selling his part of the business to partner Michael Bransford who, along with chef Chrissy Camba, is moving things more toward "sidestreet Northern European bistro" fare.
"Joncarl hasn't been here for a while and it didn't make as much sense [to keep the Dutch focus]," Bransford said. "We wanted to expand what we can do." So now, even though some of the Dutch items, like snert (a pea soup with bacon), remain, Camba has already made many changes to the menu. Some newer items include Manila clams with anchovy and breadcrumbs and roast chicken with kale and bacon and a new spring menu is in the works. They still have five preparations of mussels, but removed the Amsterdam style.
The restaurant has also swapped out its Dutch dinner for a weekly $25 three-course chef's tasting menu, which is always posted on the restaurant's Facebook page and inspired by a local farm. Through her work with Ground Up, a Chicago chef collective committed to building a local and sustainable farmer-chef connection through education, access and support, Camba has come to know a number of local chefs. Her tasting menus are her "way to connect diners with great local farmers that are supplying the restaurant," she said. In addition to working with the farms, Camba also has plans to work with her staff on a heirloom vegetable garden at her mother's house.
Ground Up is launching an indoor farmers market on May 1 at Browntrout (4111 N. Lincoln) and is holding a fundraiser for it on April 9 at Spacca Napoli (1769 W. Sunnyside). Tickets to the event cost $100 and include food tasting stations, drinks, Italian folk music and a silent auction. Some participants at the event include C-House, City Provisions, MK, The Bedford, Two Brothers Brewery, Koval Distillery and, of course, Vincent.