The Boka Group on Monday opens another West Loop restaurant as they unveil Bellemore with former Bohemian House chef Jimmy Papadopoulos at the helm. Papadopoulos, who made Polish food hip at BoHo, wasn’t given any parameters for the the new menu after blowing away Boka partners Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm at a private tasting. Bellemore takes over the former Embeya space at the corner of Jefferson and Randolph at 564 W. Randolph Street.
The Bellemore has been a work in progress since November of 2016, four months after Papadopoulos talked to Katz and Boehm. Papadopoulos, who took some time off to hang out with his kids, is excited to get back in the kitchen and share what he’s been developing. He describes the menu as “soulfully unique,” with “bright, bold, and beautiful” flavors: “I like to eat how I cook,” Papadopoulos said, “It’s exciting because I like to keep elements that I try to remember the next morning. First impressions matter but last impressions last.”
Papadopoulos said he’s already thinking about new dishes even though the first guest hasn’t walked in the front door (there may be a quince upside down cake with foie gras in the future). His approach is familiar but with an edge, for example, he takes razor clams from Boston, turns the skirt into a fried clam and serves it with celery root and remoulade. It’s a familiar dish, yet by combining several ingredients as a whole dish, he’s gone beyond simple fried razor clams.
There’s an $85 tasting menu option (a resonable price, according to the chef), which Papadopoulos has constructed as an introduction to what Bellemore is all about intwo and a half hours. The restaurant will initially open with a small amount of tasting menus available per night, before eventually ramping up to having it available for any table. The tasting menu is accompanied by an a la carte menu for a more casual option.
Check out the menu below before Bellemore opens next week.