I recently had the pleasure of having dinner at Entente, a small but fabulous restaurant in Lakeview on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago. Entente recently was awarded a Michelin star, which is an incredible honor for a restaurant. If you want to read more about Entente’s Michelin star rating, check out their website. Until I did a bit more research, all I knew is that having a Michelin-starred restaurant is an incredible accomplishment. According to a Food Network article, “Michelin remains secretive about the criteria and evaluation process used to award stars, but certain factors are known to be key, including: the quality of the products; a chef’s mastery of flavour and cooking techniques; the chef’s ability to imbue the cuisine with his or her culinary “personality.”
The secretive people who work for the Michelin guide do not announce when they’re coming to restaurants, and will only come if they truly think your restaurant is worthy. Anyways, Entente is one of the few Michelin starred restaurants that I’ve been to, and I was pretty blown away by the experience. It was a really cool, modern space, and they were playing Kendrick Lamar, J.Cole, and other awesome rap tunes. It’s not snobby or uptight, but rather the opposite. Our server was cool and conversational, and had great suggestions. Here’s a rundown of our amazing night.
We arrived a bit early at Entente and the first thing we noticed is that the place is TINY- there’s about 10 tables in the front dining room, a bar, and then a chefs table with a few smaller tables in back. We were seated at the bar, where a charming bartender made us custom cocktails to our liking- mine was vodka-centric with citrus flavors, and my boyfriend had something close to an old fashioned by with some charred cinnamon. Both were wonderful.
It was all shared plates, which was perfect for my boyfriend and I. They could be individual dishes, but you will want to try everything, I promise.
Plate 1: Carolina Gold
This was like risotto but lighter (I think it was a different type of rice), with the most amazing essence of truffle. The duck eggs are like the little gems of the dish that bring forward even more richness and flavor.
Plate 2: Octopus
The octopus was grilled to perfection, and the texture was complimented by crunchy pieces of ramen noodles on top. Little miniature dollops of black garlic puree weren’t overwhelming, but rather brought a bitterness that was complimented well by the tart grapefruit on the bottom of the dish.
Plate 3: Scallops
I could talk about these scallops for hours. I know- they’re just scallops. How could they be that good? But they were easily 1) the best cooked scallops I’ve ever had, and 2) the pumpkin curry sauce that the scallops were floating in was something from heaven above. This golden sauce was so flavorful and warm, and worked so well with the mushrooms and brussel sprouts too. I would go back just to eat this again.
Plate 4: Pekin Duck
This was a perfect end to our dinner. This plate was beautiful, and the duck skin was crispy and delightful. The duck sat in a foie gras broth with squash and kale, which was a beautiful combination of winter ingredients.
Dessert: Tres Leches Cake
The dessert was a beautiful-looking tres leches cake, but because I have such a sweet tooth, and this wasn’t that sweet of a dessert, it didn’t blow me away. But very, very beautiful to look at.
Overall- go to Entente. For a special occasion, for treatin’ yourself, for a celebration of any kind. Make your reservation early. And let yourself be immersed in this exceptional-but-relaxed dining experience.