Do you ever find a restaurant you cannot wait to return to? It doesn't happen that often for me. My last favorite discovery was Pastis in New York City; when I was there in September, I ended up eating it twice in three days. But, last Wednesday, the newest restaurant in Chicago's West Loop opened its doors to the public, and it's fair to say I'm obsessed.
Maude's Liquor Bar offers diners a taste of Paris both in its cuisine and ambience. (Oddly enough - so does Pastis.) But Maude's rustic French menu ranges from "traditional French" fare to "almost French," and includes items such as beef shortrib bourguignon, escargot, traditional cassoulet, and a French onion fondue (like the soup without the broth). But what I really love is the decor. Chesterfield sofas line the walls, white subway tiles frame the bar, and vintage chandeliers dimly light the room, giving the appearance that the restaurant has been there for the better part of a century. But the absolute, best part about the place? When I was there, I felt like I was in Paris. And I will take that any day of the week.
Dinner for two. We ordered the blackened brussel sprouts drizzled with paremesan and the Grand Plateaux - a towering display of fresh, raw shellfish including jumbo shrimp and oysters. It was everything I hoped for and more.