The transformation of a 16-year-old cook in the American Red Cross cafeteria into a sophisticated French chef and restaurant owner doesn’t happen overnight. Urged into a culinary career by his cafeteria coworkers, Joe Doppes graduated from the Culinary Institute of America before apprenticing under the greats at Le Pavillon and Le Cygne in New York, as well as the five-star Le Francais. This last position drew him to Chicago, where he set his sights on launching his own restaurant. After triumphing over cancer and rebounding from his first restaurant attempt, Doppes realized his dream in Old Town in 1999 with Bistrot Margot—which he named for his daughter rather than ballet dancer Margot Fonteyn, who could whisk eggs with her feet.
Upon the bistro’s opening, it drew praise from Phil Vettel of the Chicago Tribune for its “excellent” and “classic” French cuisine. Doppes dives headfirst into French culinary traditions with gourmet meats such as parmesan-encrusted veal, center-cut filet mignon, and roasted duck, and fresh seafood such as roasted tilapia and pan-seared whitefish. The chef and his team augment these foundations with capered citrus butter and dijon beurre blanc before pairing them with lavish sides such as saffron-and-asparagus risotto. At midday, entrees join a roster of upscale sandwiches piled with grilled sirloin and gouda, and the weekend brunch features decadent benedicts and crepes stuffed with gruyère and pesto.
To set the stage for these feasts, interior designer Vicky Tessmer drew inspiration from turn-of-the-century Paris. She paired tapestries, dark wood trim, and wall sconces with art-nouveau touches such as a stained-glass window over french doors, which lead to an outdoor patio. A roaring fireplace and walls done in cheery yellows and reds keep guests feeling cozy, and a marble-topped bar and leather stools accommodate tipplers who order one of the many French vintages from the wine list.
With a stay at Park Hyatt - Chicago, you'll be centrally located in Chicago, steps from Chicago Water Tower and Loyola University Museum of Art. This 5-star hotel is close to Millennium Park and Art Institute of Chicago.
Make yourself at home in one of the 198 air-conditioned rooms featuring iPod docking stations and LCD televisions. Your pillowtop bed comes with down comforters and Egyptian cotton sheets. Windows open to city and lake views. Wired and wireless Internet access is complimentary, while 46-inch high-definition televisions with satellite programming provide entertainment. Private bathrooms with separate bathtubs and showers feature handheld showerheads and double sinks.
Rec, Spa, Premium Amenities
Relax at the full-service spa, where you can enjoy massages and body treatments. You can take advantage of recreational amenities such as a health club, an indoor pool, and a spa tub. Additional amenities include complimentary wireless Internet access, babysitting/childcare, and wedding services.
Satisfy your appetite at the hotel's restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or stay in and take advantage of 24-hour room service. At the end of the day, relax with your favorite drink at a bar/lounge.
Business, Other Amenities
Featured amenities include complimentary high-speed (wired) Internet access, a 24-hour business center, and limo/town car service. Event facilities at this hotel consist of conference/meeting rooms, small meeting rooms, and a ballroom. A roundtrip airport shuttle is provided for a surcharge (available 24 hours), and extended parking is available onsite.
Combining his French culinary education with his Japanese heritage, chef Takashi crafts Michelin-starred French dishes with an East Asian twist. Finish off the weekend with Sunday’s multi-course kaiseki dinner, or pair a glass of sake with a plate from the chef’s tasting menu.
Famous Frenchman-turned-fictional-hero Cyrano de Bergerac and Chef Didier Durand probably don't share a passion for swordplay. They do, however, share at least two other things in common: a hometown and a poetic soul. After training in France, a young Durand moved to Chicago and bounced around its culinary scene, all the while preparing for his finest recipe yet—his own restaurant. In 1996, he opened its doors and christened it after his countryman, unveiling the rustic River North eatery first known as Cyrano's Bistrot & Wine Bar and now known as Cyrano's Farm Kitchen. In 2014, he celebrates 18 years of being in business as well as a mention in the Michelin Guide Chicago 2014.
This casual bistro, operating under the motto that good food makes people happy, showcases Durand's original cuisine while conjuring his memories of pastoral France, amid the idyllic trees and birds who sang Rimbaud poems from the leaves. Exposed-brick walls and reclaimed timber accents lend the space its authentic country charm, while the seasonal menu features American-inspired French dishes such as braised ratatouille, cedar plank salmon, and coffee-rubbed Amish chicken. Almost every dish needs a proper wine pairing, so sommelier Jamie Pellar—also Durand's wife—curates a list of hand-picked wines from around the world—including Durand's home region, where she often travels.
During warmer weather, Bistro Zinc swings open its floor-to-ceiling windows to let the sounds and breezes of the Gold Coast flow through its French-inspired dining room. The celebration of French flavors inside, however, occurs year-round, as Chef Tim Kirker’s menu flaunts a firm grasp on the country’s classic and contemporary dishes, from escargot and steak frites to grilled ham-and-gruyere sandwiches. Heartier courses include the vol-au-vent—a daily stew with puff pastry and creme fraiche mashed potatoes—and the garlicky roasted chicken, which is served with bacon, mushrooms, and potatoes. Though French cuisine is known for its meat-heavy nature, Serious Eats points out that all is not lost for herbivores: “Bistro Zinc’s menu is in fact quite amenable to meatless eating, with a couple of very tasty options.” But as with any French eatery, the desserts may be the highlight: a crème bruleé made with vanilla beans from Madagascar headlines a menu of ten decadent treats. Meanwhile, bartenders craft cocktails at the restaurant’s handcrafted zinc bar, which juts out from the side of a dining room awash with tin ceilings, tiled floors, and artwork-covered walls.
One glance at the Bonsoirée menu and it becomes clear that the chic, minimalist décor is pretty much the only thing minimalist about the place. Each dish in chef/owner Shin Thompson and chef de cuisine Luke Creagan’s "exquisitely crafted" four- ($58), seven- ($85), and 13-course ($150) flavor symphonies draws inspiration from a range of cultures and blends traditional Japanese presentation with classic French techniques. A new menu is introduced monthly, but a recent four-course line-up kicks off a night of gourmandizing with a salad of crispy Suzuki, grilled-haricot vert, and pickled ramp with lotus root drizzled in genmaicha vinaigrette and rhubarb sorbet. A fava-bean and spring-pea soup spiced with curried artichoke and green garlic then drum-rolls the curtain-raise on the meal’s centerpiece: a roast of grass-fed spring lamb from Mint Creek Farms, served with potato-and-chickpea confit, shochu Japanese–barbecue sauce, fried potato skins, smoked shimeiji mushrooms, and death mustard, a mysterious savory substance. A dessert of gingerbread ice-cream sandwich sided with ginger-cinnamon-bark ice cream and sprinkled with pecans helps quivering taste buds waft gently back down to earth. If you’re afraid that talking will destroy the food’s delicate interplay of complex flavors, you and your dining companions can entertain yourselves by watching Chef Thompson work his magic and occasionally subdue a cutlery-wielding octopus in the open kitchen window. Also, make use of Bonsoirée's new wine program: call Provenance Food and Wine, Cellar Rat, or Randolph Wine Cellars ahead of time, and get a bottle of wine delivered to Bonsoirée free of charge in advance of your reservation at no extra cost.