Phil Vettel reviews Aboyer & Silencieux

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WINNETKA, Ill. — Three restaurants, one chef, one roof. That’s the set-up in Winnetka, where Michael Lachowicz’ four-star George Trois restaurant – beautiful as always – has been joined by Aboyer and Silencieux, both of which opened in early May.

Aboyer is the larger, noisier restaurant; Aboyer, after all, means “to bark.” The large room contains 56 seats and an open bar, features dark walls and a splash of color, and even turns wine storage into a decorative element.

The a la carte menu features an array of modernized classics. There’s a fine starter of rabbit and sage sausage, for instance, elevated by a mix of quinoa and charred-cabbage confit, graced with paper-thin strips of dehydrated Serrano ham.

Excellent entrées include trout, topped with a syrupy red-miso sauce, accompanied by batter-fried cauliflower beignets; and a galantine of chicken, wrapped around wild mushrooms and barley and placed over asparagus. And for dessert, try the olive-oil cake, served alongside coffee-banana panna cotta, a bruleed banana slice and spiced-chocolate sauce.

Right next door, but a world away, is Silencieux, and as the name suggests, it’s more quiet and intimate. And unlike Aboyer, Silencieux has windows for natural light.

Silencieux features a three-course, $85 menu that always includes an extra or two. The menu changes frequently, but right now you could expect to find Dover sole, expertly filleted at the table and served with lobster sauce and hazelnuts; and an oversized ravioli square filled with lobster meat and sauced with an asparagus-lobster emulsion. And for dessert, the warm chocolate tart with toasted-coconut ice cream is a winner.

Let’s make it three stars for Silencieux and Aboyer, both found at 64 Green Bay Road in Winnetka. Together with George Trois, they offer exemplary French dining at three different price levels. Check your wallet and make your reservations accordingly.

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