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The Art Institute’s Van Gogh Show Inspires a Special Tasting Menu

The exclusive menu is for four nights at Entree in South Loop

Art Institute Of Chicago
A Chicago restaurant is using the Art Institute’s Van Gogh exhibit as fodder for a new menu.
Photo by Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

For four months, tourists and locals have flocked to the Art Institute of Chicago for the Van Gogh exhibition which closed on Labor Day. To celebrate its conclusion, the Art Institute is partnering with a South Loop restaurant for a special five-course tasting menu dinner for four nights this week.

The dinners will take place at Entree, a South Loop restaurant that specializes in delivery. The restaurant took over the space where Michelin-starred Acadia stood. Last year, Entree worked with the Art Institute on a similar dinner that paid homage to the museum’s Cezanne exhibition. Entree’s co-owner Jason Weingarten says he was amazed at how many people flew in to book a table so they’re employing the same formula again but with Van Gogh.

The dinners, which start on Thursday, September 7, and go through Saturday, September 10, will allow Entree chef Alex Carnovale to showcase the skills he honed at the French Laundry, Thomas Keller’s famous restaurant in Napa Valley, California.

His menu is inspired by the 75 pieces in the art exhibition. Particularly, Weingarten says his chef “was inspired by Van Gogh and the interconnected artists as they retreated to the working-class suburbs of Paris in the 1880s and found an evolving industrial and social landscape that fueled intense creativity and experimentation.”

A sunflower salad in a white ceramic bowl
Sunflower salad

“We don’t want to give away any of the surprises we have in store, but let’s just say there’s a very literal translation to ‘Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers’ that will make patrons smile,” Weingarten adds.

The menu includes gougère (aged comté and black truffle in choux pastry), a sunflower salad (heirloom tomato wedges with assorted sprouts and blossoms in a sunflower seed and date vinaigrette), roasted sunchokes (smoked and roasted sunchokes with whipped parmesan foam and potato purée), magret de canard (dry-aged duck breast with foie gras wild grain porridge, brown butter, caramelized shallot) and caramelized honey ice cream (preserved blueberries & Tahitian vanilla with edible flowers).

Entree doesn’t open up its dining room often as the focus is on creating to-go meals that can be warmed up by customers at home. The pandemic has impacted their plans, but they wanted to open up their dining room more. With a chef who’s worked at the French Laundry, that would make sense — they’re not a ghost kitchen.

Van Gogh at Entree, 1639 S. Wabash Avenue, Thursday, September 7 through Saturday, September 10, RSVP online.