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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13



SAVOR REVIEW La Grande Boucherie
by Andrew Davis

This article shared 7409 times since Thu Mar 14, 2024
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Just a few months ago, The Group NYC—a hospitality consortium based in you-know-where—opened the Italian restaurant Olio e Piu in Chicago's River North neighborhood.

You can read my review of this restaurant at, but what I basically said it that it took two bites of the pasta for me to be satisfied (and that second bite was, thankfully, a doozy).

Now, The Group has opened a branch of the French steakhouse La Grande Boucherie a stone's throw from Olio e Piu's Chicago restaurant. (A third Group restaurant, the Japanese-themed The Omakase Room, is also slated to open in the city later this year.)

The first thing that stands out about La Grande Boucherie is, fittingly, its size. (After all, "La Grande Boucherie" translates to "The Great Butchery.") This sprawling bilevel space is more than 10,000 square feet, making it the city's largest restaurant. And more impressively, it was bustling during a weeknight, possibly because everyone wants to try the new spot—but it could also be because of the quality of the food and/or service.

The menu, designed by Corporate Executive Chef Maxime Kien and run by Chef de Cuisine Michael Woodhal, introduces guests to the many facets of French gastronomy through large-format meats, a raw bar and both classic and modern French dishes.

And meats certainly abound. (After all, it is a steakhouse that's called "The French Butchery.") There's an extensive selection of prime cuts, such as filet mignon, Australian grass-fed ribeye, chateaubriand pour deux and faux-filet Bercy, but you'll also find lamb rack, rabbit leg, walleye and the very traditional escargot (snails). And there's a whole confit suckling pig with red cabbage and roasted apples—for $600 (although it is for eight to 10 people).

However, those who crave vegetarian and vegan dishes have options as well. For an appetizer, I had the salade verte—a delightfully massive head of Bibb lettuce with dijon mustard vinaigrette, fresh herbs and fried shallots. (You won't be able to consume it in one sitting unless you plan on eating nothing else.) There are also choices such as a vegan Beyond burger and oven-braised stuffed eggplant.

And for those who love cheeses, there's a nice selection, with offerings including St-Andre, Tomme de Savoie, P'tit Basque, Roquefort, Camambert and Comte.

As for the meats, all I can say (or write) is that La Grande Boucherie delivers. My friend had the steak tartare (beef tenderloin, capers, cornichons, shallots, quail egg and pommes gaufrettes/waffle fries) as an appetizer, and he loved it, mixing the ingredients to enhance his experience. For his entree, he had the filet de boeuf after he asked the server, Marco, for a cut with a little more fat. (Culinarily speaking, my dining companion can be a bit more of a … daredevil.) I went with the salmon roti, with the Maltaise sauce bolstering the fish while the accompanying grapefruit slices provided a nice contrast with the bitterness of the endive.

Desserts were also impressive. The profiteroles were expertly made (with vanilla ice cream, dark-chocolate 66% sauce and vanilla Chantilly) but the chocolate torte was almost beyond words; made, again, with dark-chocolate 66% ganache, this dessert is sinfully good (and rich).

We loved the drinks as well. I had the PJ Breeze—a cocktail consisting of pineapple, lemon, lavender and mint that was extremely refreshing but left an unexpected (but welcome) peppery aftertaste at first. My friend opted for two cocktails—La Vie en Rose (with Absolut, Lillet Blanc, lychee, cranberry puree and Brut Sparkling) and the Boucherie French martini (with brown butter-washed Haku vodka, salt, pineapple and raspberry)—and raved about both.

By the way, if you're a fan of salty butter, then this is the place for you. My friend absolutely devoured it as he spread it on his bread—and we were later told it took months to locate the right butter, so apparently the search was worth it.

I highly recommend this latest local venture from The Group—and I don't need a second visit to convince me.

La Grande Boucherie is at 431 N. Dearborn St.; visit .

Note: This visit was arranged.

Note: No reproduction of this column is permitted under any circumstances without express prior written permission.

This article shared 7409 times since Thu Mar 14, 2024
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