What is hip? Chicago’s Blackbird

amuse bouche, blackbird restaurant

What is hip?
Chicago’s Blackbird

chicago, blackbird restaurant

Come join my brother, sister-in-law and me for dinner
at one of Chicago’s hippest restaurants, Blackbird.
Established in 1997 it’s not new, but it is definitely cutting-edge.
Cuisine that has been described as “quietly revolutionary.”

What is Hip? by Tower of Power, Chicago 1977

The title for this post was inspired by one of my all-time favorite bands, Tower of Power.
We went wild in the late ’70’s when in live concerts they would announce,

blackbird menu

sancerre, domaine vacheron
Domaine Vacheron Sancerre 2010

A dry crisp refreshing wine to start the evening. A steely organic Sauvignon Blanc with a hint of grapefruit aromas with plenty of mineral overtones and citrus-y flavors. This is classic Sancerre—with lots of freshness and vibrant energy.

chicago, blackbird restaurant

chicago, blackbird restaurant, yellow daisy
chicago's blackbird restaurant, foie gras torchon

foie gras torchon with mandarinquat jam, sesame, and nasturtium

chicago, blackbird restaurant, foie gras torchon
chicago, blackbird restaurant, skate wing

sauteed skate wing with little gem, almonds, pickled ramps, and whipped butter pudding

chicago, blackbird restaurant
chicago's blackbird restaurant, black bean agnolotti

Kristy’s favorite
fermented black bean agnolotti with morels, pea vines, sherry and fresh wasabi



some dishes deserve their very own post, like this salad of endives, here

chicago, blackbird restaurant, veal sweetbreads

maple glazed veal sweetbreads with rutabaga, granny smith apple and black caraway

chicago, blackbird restaurant, Chablis Premier Cru Mont de Milieu

Domaine Billaud Simon Chablis Premier Cru Mont de Milieu 2006

“A Chablis that is as colorful as a basket of fruit.” Chablis from Billaud Simon is brisk, balanced, and mineral-driven. With its creamy texture, purity, and freshness – it paired very well with the salad of endives and our second courses.

chicago's blackbird restaurant, pork rib chop

grilled becker lane pork rib chop with caramel potatoes, green asparagus,
sea beans and cured egg yolk

chicago, blackbird restaurant, pork rib chop
chicago's blackbird restaurant, burgundy
Michel Ecard Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Cru Serpentieres Vieilles Vignes 2007

This spicy complex Burgundy is approachable, juicy and plump, terrific with our main courses. “Serpentières” in 2007 delivers silkiness and finesse with aromas of  black raspberries and a hint of fresh ginger. It continues with flavors of  raspberries and plums and a long peppery finish.

chicago's blackbird restaurant, veal tenderloin

Don’s favorite
miso-glazed quebecois veal tenderloin with artichokes, apricot and fresh cheese

chicago's blackbird restaurant, sturgeon

Lori Lynn’s favorite
wood grilled sturgeon with smoked ham hock, red beet, cabbage, smoked dates and walnut broth


chicago's blackbird restaurant, chicken and sausage

roasted farm chicken and sausage with cauliflower, maitake mushrooms,
kaffir lime, and applewood broth

cheese platter
cheese platter, chicago's blackbird
thones ‘reblochon’ cow’s milk – savoie, france
with hazelnut and sage

8 spring book farm ‘tarentaise’ raw cow’s milk – roading, vermont
with pickled persimmon

8 shepherd’s way farms ‘big woods blue’ sheeps milk – norstrand, minnesota
with sweet loquats

adante dairy ‘contralto’ goat’s milk – petaluma, california
with mustard genois

le pommier ‘camembert’ cow’s milk – normandy, france
with black trumpet mushrooms

blackbird cheese platter

dessert menu
chicago's blackbird restaurant, dessert menu

Don’s restaurant philosophy is “Try everything on the menu,
you never know when you’ll be back and you don’t want to miss their best dish!”

dessert at blackbird

one of everything please


chicago's blackbird, fennel seed croisant

fennel seed croissant, rhubarb, fennel,and oatmeal ice cream

blackbird restaurant
Blackbird Restaurant…

“Hipness is. What it is!
Sometimes hipness is, what it ain’t.”

dining in chicago, randolph street
…on Randolph Street

This. Is. Hip.

13 thoughts on “What is hip? Chicago’s Blackbird”

  1. I’ve been to Blackbird! I used to work on Michigan and Randolph and would frequent that restaurant with my co-workers on Fridays right after work. 🙂 It is an ammmmazing place!

  2. this meal looks DIVINE! the whole family of restaurants (along with avec and publican and i believe big star as well) are amazingly solid. you can’t go wrong with any of them 🙂 but yes, you should add the bristol to your list next time! 🙂

  3. Each course is even better than the last. Thanks for the introduction to Blackbird–will surely check it out the next time I visit Chicago. 🙂

  4. Every course looks slightly larger than your average amuse bouche…
    Yet so many complicated ingredients…
    I like to know what I’m eating without referencing an encyclopedia Britannica at the table.
    I’m not hip enough for this place.
    If I was in Chicago I’d go to that terrific seafood place with the red checked tablecloths – Shaw’s Crab House in a heartbeat.

  5. Would it be over-the-top to schedule a culinary tour of Chicago? 🙂

    Thank you for a love photographic journal. This reminds me that I need to plant another round of nasturtium, just so I could throw them into my salads and butter compounds.


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