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 Executive Chef Cuyeu and his Sous Chef Mathew Wiltzius with one of the following options paired with Champagne from the contemporary house of Thiénot–all at Balsan Restaurant at The Waldorf Astoria Chicago:
$89 for a Reserve dinner for two
- Chilled seafood platter for two
- Two glasses of Thiénot Brut Champagne
- Two entrees
- One dessert
$168 for a dinner for four
- Chilled seafood platter for four
- Four glasses of Thiénot Brut Champagne
- Four entrees
- Two desserts
$285 for a dinner for six
- Fruits de Mer – a tower of seafood including items such as oysters, shrimp, and mussels
- Chef's selection of house cured meats and cheeses
- Six glasses of Thiénot Rosé Champagne
- Six entrees
- Three desserts
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 seafood entrees such as scallops with caviar lentils, roasted carrots, and habanero yogurt or heartier dishes such as dry-aged sirloin with tempura beans and cherry mustard.
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 Thiénot Brut Champagne complement meals and combine fruit and finesse in a blend of three grape varieties selected from Champagne's most discerning vineyards. Wines develop a spring-like bouquet, where floral and fruit aromas intertwine, delicately evolving on the palate toward a long finish exuding a succession of orchard notes. Conversely, Thiénot Rose Champagne’s delicate salmon-pink color releases tangy notes of Morello cherry and blackcurrant, developing on the palate into red berry and fruity notes.