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 at Balsan Restaurant at The Waldorf Astoria Chicago:
$89 for a dinner for two
- One Fruits de Mer seafood platter, including prawns, oysters, mussels, octopus, and lobster
- Two entrees
- One dessert
- Two glasses of Thiénot Brut Champagne<p>
$168 for a dinner for four
- Two Fruits de Mer seafood platters
- Four entrees
- Two desserts
- Bottle of Thiénot Brut Champagne<p>
$285 for a dinner for six
- Seafood tower with oysters, shrimp, clams, ceviche shooters, mussels, and crabmeat and lobster rolls
- Artisan meat and cheese platter
- Six entrees
- Three desserts
- Six glasses of Thiénot Rosé Champagne<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 revel in the kind of early-summer flavors surrounding large plates such as the salmon, which is marinated in gremolata before being grilled and plated with parsley root, asparagus, and frisée salad. Dry-aged sirloin forms the heart of the steak frites, enriched by bordelaise and parmesan-garlic fries; radish salad adds crisp bite.
For dessert, Pastry Chef Andrew Johnson offers another celebration of the season in the form of a strawberry stracciatella served with rather grown-up sundae toppings: cherry-tarragon jam and house-made almond cookies. Johnson’s artistry also emerges in the dark chocolate terrine, which he pairs with peanut butter ice cream and a pretzel chip for a sweet-and-salty flavor profile. Pours of Theinot Brut or Rose Champagne offer bubbly and crisp refreshment, cleansing the palate between courses or after mistakenly eating the corner of a napkin.