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Tom Armitage | Dec 1, 199907:50 PM    

My recent stay in Chicago started with dinner at Blackbird (more on that in another post). The chef there, Paul Kahan, suggested that I try Aubriot, and spoke with admiration and respect about its chef and owner, Eric Aubriot. Not having made plans in advance this trip, my wife and I were at Aubriot the next night. Wow! The sauteed chicken livers with grapes & grape juice reduction was a show stopper. A caviar and smoked salmon parfait with capers and lemon cream was also very good, though the subtler flavors suffered somewhat by comarison with the chicken livers. Veal sweetbreads with caramelized salsify, onion confit ravioli, and picholine olive jus was another show stopper. The sweetbreads were perfectly cooked, and the accompanying flavors were just right. Braised veal cheeks with porcini mushrooms (the black chantrelles on the menu weren't available) and walnut emulsion was a sophisticated take on a home-style dish, just fine on a chilly November night. The banana souffle was divine, as was a chestnut torte wrapped in a wonderful dark chocolate. Just terrific food, period.

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