Legendary Chicago restaurant group One Off Hospitality unveils the newest addition to their acclaimed portfolio today, giving the city a casual new French spot in the former Publican Anker space in the heart of Wicker Park. Cafe Cancale is named for a small town on France’s western coast where executive chef Paul Kahan celebrated his 50th birthday with his wife, and thus the restaurant offers an array French seafood dishes and shellfish in a brighter space full of creams and blues.
Chef de cuisine AJ Walker, who remains from predecessor Publican Anker, and team will execute a dinner menu broken into traditional starters/entrees/raw shellfish sections. One highlight is the restaurant’s version of a seafood tower — dubbed the “Cancale Plateau” — which has oysters, clams, shrimp, tuna ceviche, and beef tartare. Others include a clam dish with white blood sausage, escargot, chickpeas and ramps; butter and vermouth-poached halibut; and a lobster sandwich on bialy. Notable desserts include kouign amann with maple ice cream, and chocolate and coffee eclairs.
The drinks focus in understandably on the wine list, which highlights partner Eduard Seitan’s selection of French and “from afar” wines which includes 10 types of sparkling, a large selection of whites, plus five roses. Bar supervisor Scott Kennedy’s signature cocktail is a variation of a last word with G’Vine Nouaison small batch gin, Chartreuse V.E.P. Verte, Paulo Lazzaroni & Figli maraschino, and lime. The cocktail menu also includes two types of martinis, and a small beer selection is also available. Check out the full menus and photos of some dishes below.
Management gave the former Anker space a full makeover in less than two months, swapping the darker pub theme for a brighter French seaside-inspired aesthetic. Take a look around the space here. Cafe Cancale opens for business today at 4 p.m. at one of the busiest intersections in Chicago.
Cafe Cancale, 1576 N. Milwaukee Avenue, open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Lunch and brunch coming soon.