Vettel: Pearl Brasserie brings seafood with French flair to the Loop

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CHICAGO -- Part oyster bar and part bistro, Pearl Brasserie produces classic French dishes in a 1920s Paris atmosphere complete with marble-topped bar, brass fixtures and dark wood.

The lunch and bar menus have great options for those in a hurry. There are oysters, of course, accompanied by a verjus mignonette, as well as mussels with grilled baguette, and grilled lamb chops with minted pesto. Lobster roll is an American creation, but Pearl Brasserie offers a fine version nonetheless.

Dinner features a three-course, $35 format, which is a great value. Among the first courses are excellent lobster bisque with hints of sherry and tarragon, and roasted baby beets with goat cheese, mixed greens and truffle vinaigrette. For entrees, the Berkshire pork chop with apples, lardons and rosemary jus is just about perfect, and you can’t go wrong with steak frites, served with a superb sauce Bordelaise.

Desserts are straightforward classics. The apple galette with cinnamon ice cream is by-the-book perfect, and the chocolate mousse cake with Chantilly cream is rich enough for any dark-chocolate fan.

I give Pearl Brasserie, 180 North Wacker Drive, two stars. This is a solid, dependable restaurant, and if you’re ever in the Loop around 5 p.m., the happy hour discounts are terrific.

For more information about this week`s restaurant, text "phil" to 97999.