Phil Vettel heads to Winnetka for a “triple-threat” French experience from chef Michael Lachowicz. Housed under a single roof, Lachowicz’s fine dining restaurant George Trois has been joined by new concepts Aboyer and Silencieux. The former is a “nouveau brasserie” that’s “priced to encourage repeat patronage.” A starter of red snapper ceviche is crowned with grilled baby octopus “so eye-catching you might wonder which protein is the actual star of the dish.” Trout glazed with red-miso sauce is “outstanding,” while roasted chicken stuffed with wild mushrooms, barley, and preserved lemon is “even better.” Dessert includes olive oil cake that gets taken up a notch with the addition of coffee-banana panna cotta, bruleed banana, and spiced-chocolate sauce.
In comparison, Silencieux “exists as the affordable middle ground” between Aboyer and George Trois. Entering the space feels like “stepping into another world” as the “colors are muted, and so is the sound.” The $85 three-course prix fixe menu offers choices like “gorgeous, oversized” raviolo filled with lobster and set over an asparagus-lobster emulsion. Dover sole is “presented with the solemnity of a religious rite” and served with lobster sauce and hazelnuts; and grilled quail is stuffed with merguez sausage and pain de mais and accompanied by a medley of spring veggies. “Excellent” souffles and a “very good” chocolate tart round out the meal. Overall, Vettel awards the new restaurant duo three stars. [Tribune]
New butcher Rob Levitt has raised the meat game at One Off Hospitality and its West Loop cafe, Publican Quality Meats. He’s added several new sandwiches to the menu, including the “superbly sloppy” Ewe Moon of Kentucky that features shredded barbecued lamb with kohlrabi slaw and Worcestershire mayo. Old standards also remain, such as ribollita soup with a “rich, tomatoey broth like what canned soups wish they could have,” writes Graham Meyer. There’s still some room for improvement, though, as the P.Q.(A.)M. breakfast sandwich “beats the pants off” other versions but is served on an “over-bready” kaiser roll, and the Grilled Steve could use “more brightness reinforcements” to counter the “indulgently fatty” buckboard bacon and raclette. [Crain’s]