3/21/2013 11:35:00 AM

The Best Thing We Ate Last Night: Dover Sole at Henri

When chef Dirk Flanigan left his post overseeing the kitchens of Henri and The Gage, we’re not going to lie, we were nervous for the fate of the restaurants that thrive on consistently delicious food. Last night, we put the new executive chef of Henri, Chris Gawronski, to the test. "Feed us chef, and let us see what you can do." Feed us he did with a menu of classic French dishes and fresh interpretations. Our favorite showcased his finesse for plating as well as some early spring ingredients. The dish was Dover sole paupiette and gaujons. Translated for the language of French gourmand, a paupiette is a piece of meat, in this case tender sole, wrapped in with vegetables and sliced into beautiful roulades. The gaujons were made with smaller strips that were fish deep-fried.

Gawronski truly succeeded in utilizing tradition French flavors in a dish that was still light and seasonal. The two preparations of the fish contrasted each other, but both picked up rich flavor from a creamy sauce normande. The whole dish was garnished with English peas and root vegetables - a reminder that spring produce is almost ready to find a home on our plate/stomach. Overall, a strong start for our new chef. This well-executed dish bodes well for the spring menu that he will release after Chicago Chefs Week.

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