Monday, July 14, 2008

Aigre Doux

from "Husband and wife culinary team, Mohammad Islam and Malika Ameen, who met while cooking at Chicago’s superlative Ritz-Carlton Hotel and have become rising star culinary wizards ever since. Aigre Doux is their first Chicago venue in River North. Aigre-doux is the French term for the combined flavors of sour (aigre) and sweet (doux); Islam will serve as owner/executive chef and head of the food and wine program, while Ameen, as owner/executive pastry chef, will design the restaurant’s dessert menu and head the adjacent bakery. The couple brings a passion for food and a stellar Chicago, New York and Los Angeles culinary background to the new venture. Aigre Doux is a contemporary, comfortably calm upscale restaurant, yet the couple’s commitment to quality is anything but calm. “We feel so strongly about the importance of serving excellent food,” said Ameen. “We don’t believe people should have to go to a fine dining restaurant to eat well."

aigre doux was exceptional.. we enjoyed everything. nice, clean ambience; exceptional service (everything came at perfect timing, from clearing plates, to water, orders, precise that I swear there are cameras at our table or something watching our every move).

food: bread wasn't warm, but it was SUPER delicious.. very soft & airy, with salted crust.. reminded me of an asian bread that I can't put my finger on, but interestingly enough, my husband felt the same way... except his is a japanese bread and mine a chinese one. i guess it just tastes very asian. my husband and i stepped into the restaurant, not hungry at all (unfortunately), but we got bread service twice.. each ate 4 pieces of their bread.

Black Truffle Pizza fontina cheese, frisée $16

thin yet chewy dough perfectly cooked in their oven, with slight char at the bottom... truffles, cheese were flavored & paired to make this an exceptional piece.

Crispy Calamari lemongrass, asian influences
we originally wanted to try their rabbit, but the waitress wasn't very encouraging when I asked about it. instead, she recommended their crispy calamari, which was perfectly crisp even though there was a lime/lemongrass based sauce stirred into it. we loved this.

Colorado Lamb Tasting grilled chop, braised shank, crispy sweetbreads truffled grits, fennel, apple, fava bean salad $40

lambchops were the BEST we've ever had, the knife cut into the super tender meat effortlessly, and melted in our mouths. their braised meat was incredibly tender. the grits and vegetables didn't interest us at all... I don't think we even finished it. the sweetbread tasted very intestinal, and had a chewy texture that wasn't very tasty. i muchly enjoyed the sweetbread at Craft, not here.

Sticky Toffee Pudding organic khadrawy dates, devonshire cream sorbet, cara cara orange $11

i had read that their sticky toffee pudding was awesome, and since the wife completes the 'sweet' of the restaurant, i wanted to experience the 'other half'. unfortunately it wasn't on the menu. when we asked about it, the waitress said, "oh you can have it if you want it." so they especially made it for us, just cuz we asked... i thought that was pretty nice. also, when we got out, the valet attendant grabbed our keys the second we stepped out the door (we didn't even have to show him the valet ticket).

With 2 grey goose martinis and 2 grey goose tonics, our bill turned out to be a bit over $160 (including tip). not too bad for the creatively delicious meal and excellent service. We will be back.

Aigre Doux
230 W. Kinzie Avenue
Chicago , Illinois

Tel: 312 329 9400

Note: we had our camera on the wrong setting so the photos turned out like crap. sucks!!

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