10/09/2012 06:13:00 PM

First Look: Baume & Brix Brings Flair and Flash to River North

Is there such a thing as too many cooks in the kitchen? For the sake of Baume & Brix, a modern eatery in River North, we hope not. Not one but three chefs will man the kitchen here. Chef-partner Elliott Bowman will act as co-executive chef with Ben Roche. The duo worked together at Moto/iNG and brought in Bowman’s sous-chef, Nate Park, as the chef de cuisine. Does everyone have this straight? There will be a quiz after.

Eat: If you thought the setup in the kitchen was confusing, wait until we tell you about the menu. It is divided into four parts: explore, summit, divide and conquer. Yes, diners will be eating and not mountain climbing. Explore encompasses the small-plate portion of the menu, such as oysters and Waygu carpaccio. Summit refers to the entree part of the menu with a red curry braised short rib, which was the best thing we sampled during a preview meal. For larger parties, the divide menu must be ordered in advance and is split between four to six people. Finally, conquer desserts like cotton candy sorbet or deconstructed grilled cheese.

Drink: Keeping in theme with lots of options, the beverage menu features classic cocktails and their reinvented alter egos. All drinks are concocted with housemade syrups and tonics. There is also an impressive wine list. The bar spans along the windows overlooking Hubbard Street. It's separated from the spacious dining room by metal dividers but uses the same copper and black hues to create a modern yet warm vibe. The fire wall in the dining room adds some heat to the decor as well.

Eat More: Got some extra cash burning a hole in your pocket? The chef’s table is waiting with an unforgettable meal. Served at a six-top in the reclaimed elevator shaft, the meal is adapted to the size of the group. Although the chef trio infused the regular menu with the creativity and innovation one would expect from gastronomically trained chefs, the chef’s table is their no-holds-barred space where anything is possible.

Drink More: Below the 200 seat restaurant and lounge is another bar with a different name: The Grid. The Grid will have its own food menu with snacklike options like duck fat cheddar popcorn and pad Thai peanuts as well as more meaty options such as pork belly and burrata poutine and Kobe burger. It will have its own drink menu along with bottle service that uses the same housemade tonics and syrups from upstairs.

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