CHICAGO — The old Entente earned a Michelin star, but had trouble drawing customers to its northwest-Lakeview location, so it moved to a new River North location six weeks ago.
It's a larger space with well-spaced free tables, comfortable banquette seating and a much-larger bar. It's better-looking than the original location, too. The constant is Executive Chef Brian Fisher, who says the physical space is the only thing that's changed about Entente.
“Everything's the same... obviously the neighborhood is a big kicker," Fisher said, describing the style as "approachable fine dining.
Indeed, a few dishes from the original menu have made the trip. One is the wedge salad, easily the prettiest wedge salad I've ever seen, beautifully composed with bacon, creamy cambozola cheese, tomatoes and tomato-plum jam. The other is the chicken-liver mousse, served in a jar under a top layer of aspic accented with orange, rye and bitters, like a jellified Old Fashioned.
Newer creations include this don't-miss plate of agnolottoi pasta with morels, asparagus and rich butter sauce; sturgeon, presented in cubes alongside rolled and charred leeks, potato and trout roe; and loin of lamb, dusted with powdered herbs and served with fava beans, pecorino cheese and savory fruit rollups of Aperol-poached rhubarb.
The whole-roasted duck is for sharing, enough entree for two or even three. You get to see the whole duck before it's carved and returned as honey-glaze breast slices and duck confit spring rolls, soft lettuce topped with duck meat and crispy skin, and various sauces, including a strawberry sriracha sauce I'm in love with.
Desserts are offbeat and artistic. A small fig tart is drizzled with walnut oil and white-port pearls, topped with a scoop of Humboldt Fog — which is to say California goat cheese — made into ice cream.
I give Entente, 700 North Sedgwick Street, three stars. Two years ago, I called this restaurant “a complete package,” and I haven't changed my mind.