Monday, February 16, 2009

Review: Spring

Shawn McClain is undoubtedly one of Chicago's truly great, celebrated chefs. Between Spring and Green Zebra, I think he could be my most favorite chef anywhere.

Some people may find Spring's Asian-infused seafood too light to really lust for - for me, these flavors are the ideal. After many years, I returned with my husband last weekend, and we were knocked out over and over throughout the evening by the beautiful, thoughtful experience that it still is. There literally wasn't one mediocre moment. We enjoyed the Sazeracs (of my last post) at the bar enormously, followed by a stunning rose Champagne. My meal began with hamachi sashimi over a bed of greens with a warm and mild soy-based mustard sauce poured over. The asparagus soup was a rich but subtle palate cleanser, with just barely a hint of truffle oil - at the bottom swam two small truffle ravioli that blew me away. My seared barramundi with miso-potato gnocchi was incredibly flavorful yet light, paired with an Austrian Riesling that showed tons of honey on the palate. The chocolate mousse cake was accompanied by a salty wafer that made me linger and appreciate the play on textures and sensations. Add to that amuse bouches before and after the meal, and service that was among the best of any restaurant I've visited in a very long while.

The only small gripe I can think of is that the minimalist decor feels bland and needs an update. They could preserve the tranquil, spa-like atmosphere without resorting to c. 1990s starkness. The painted panels in the bar area especially aren't up to standard.

Spring on Urbanspoon

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