The Blanchard - Chicago
Brooklyn-born chef Jason Paskewitz made Chicago his stomping grounds in the late 1990s. He brought with him his extensive training on classic French cuisine, which he showcased during tenures at the W-Lakeshore Wave restaurant and Gemini Bistro.
At The Blanchard, where he serves as executive chef and partner, Paskewitz is completely in his element. His menu is a modernist take on classic French cuisine without the stuffiness. There's an open kitchen and chef's counter, so that diners may peek in on the bustling action as their meals are being prepared.
The signature bite at The Blanchard is the Hudson Valley foie gras, where guests may order four different ways. There are also updated versions of mussels, steak frites and bouillabaisse.
The Blanchard's decor is modern and clubby, and its vibe attracts many of the neighborhood's young professionals for date night or other occasions. There's also a comfortable lounge and, come summer, a spectacular patio off of a quiet, secluded cul-de-sac in Lincoln Park.