Étienne Balsan was a paragon of French power. The scion of a family of rich textile makers, he had ample opportunities for romance within the socialite set. Instead, love led him to Coco Chanel, a working-class girl who, unbeknownst to both of them, would one day rule the fashion world. This unlikely pairing is never far from Executive Chef Herve Cuyeu’s mind. After all, he spends his days at a restaurant named after Balsan himself, fusing the delicate tastes of French culinary tradition with the horizon-chasing spirit of American cooking. Today’s Reserve selection invites you to find something of your own to love on the menu of Chef Cuyeu and his Sous Chefs Cecilia Light and Mathew Wiltzius with one of the following options:
$70 for a dinner for two
- One charcuterie platter with chef’s selection of two meats and two cheeses
- Two entrees
- Two desserts
- Two teas or french-press coffees<p>
$140 for a dinner for four
- One charcuterie platter with chef’s selection of four meats and four cheeses
- Four entrees
- Four desserts
- Four teas or french-press coffees<p>
At the third-floor dining level of the historic Gold Coast’s Waldorf Astoria Chicago, Chef Cuyeu and his culinary team labor to create the rustically elegant dishes that characterize Balsan Restaurant’s menu. A range of ingredients lends never-ending inspiration to Cuyeu as he designs his seasonal specialties.
While dining in the contemporary restaurant—which specializes in seasonal, market-driven cuisine with a European style and American flair— guests can enjoy winter entrees such as Skuna Bay salmon. The seared fillet sits atop braised Tuscan kale and is served with black-truffle gnocchi in a light prosciutto broth, poured tableside. The Amish chicken-breast roulade is pan-roasted in butter, then plated alongside confit chicken leg, roasted brussels sprouts, and oyster mushrooms.
For dessert, Pastry Chef Andrew Johnson offers Paris brest, a traditional French delicacy made with the notoriously light pastry pâte à choux. After rising, the pastry is filled with hazelnut mousse and crunchy hazelnut nougatine using a technique originally developed for injecting donuts with smuggled jewelry.