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Dec 12, 2012 08:26 PM

WELCOME BEAUME & BRIX, a great new addition to the Chicago dining scene in River North

Last Saturday night, after spending hours at the One of a Kind Show at the Merchandise Mart, my wife and I had the great pleasure of trying out a new restaurant in the River North area - Beaume & Brix, located at 351 W. Hubbard St., near the East Bank Club. Officially open for only 2 weeks, the owners and staff had a 2 month “soft” opening while trying to works the kinks out and it certainly showed on Saturday with smooth and enjoyable service, great ambience and great food.

The restaurant is beautiful with an ample bar area separate from most of the dining areas. The staff was very friendly and our waiter, Raphael, was a breath of fresh air - young and energetic with a wonderful personality and very knowledgeable about the menu items. Note - the restaurant is still a work in progress as we were told. The menu is still being tweaked and the wine list is still short by their own admission. In fact, they are planning to increase the wine list by two thirds.

As for the food, it was at the least delightful and at the most, extraordinary. While this was only our first visit and there are many entrees and appetizers which we would have loved to have sampled, we cannot wait to make further visits to try the fish, seafood and vegetarian dishes which really sounded amazing and enticing.

We started by splitting an entree of Potato Chip Gnocchi with sour cream and Allium. That’s right Allium. It made for a great appetizer when split for two. The presentation and seasoning were a wonderful start to the meal.

We then shared 2 entrees, the notable Duck Breast with mushroom duxelles, autumn squash and barley. The portion was more than ample and the tastes wonderful. My wife and I have had duck breast at many restaurants but this particular entree was amongst the best we have eaten.

For my wife and I, the star of the show was the Short Rib with Red Curry: coconut, lemon and flowering Kale. Wow is all I can say. Especially when you break up the candied lemon slice and spread it on the incredibly creamy and delicious short rib. Stand out dish!!! This was the best short rib dish we had ever tasted and if for no other reason, this dish will bring us back time and time again.

The chefs, Thomas Bowman and Ben Roche, formerly of Ing and Moto, are perfectionists to the extent that they will not even serve bread and butter unless requested as their bread making ovens had yet to be installed. But when requested the waiter brought us amazing rolls with an incredible maple and bourbon infused butter. I would have taken it intravenously had I been given the opportunity.

For now there are 5 desserts on the menu the most notable being Cookies & Milk: candy cap mushroom, walnut milk. At $24.00 it was too much just for the 2 of us but from having read other reviews of this dish, we missed out by not having ordered it however, the Panna Cotta, yogurt, raspberry, beet (yes beet), rose and pistachio was excellent and a great way to end the meal.

During our meal the manager and other members of the staff visited our table frequently inquiring about our experience and sharing information with us about the restaurant's future plans.

We discovered this gem due to Phil Vettel’s review last Friday in the Chicago Tribune and we felt fortunate to be able to get a reservation with such short notice. I highly recommend this great restaurant.

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  1. "I would have taken it intravenously had I been given the opportunity" sounds like something I would have written.

    $24 dessert: was this meant to be for a large group, or is this a very expensive restaurant?

    3 Replies
    1. re: danna

      >> $24 dessert: was this meant to be for a large group, or is this a very expensive restaurant?

      The other three desserts on their website menu are $9-10, and entrees are $18-26:

      1. re: danna

        It is meant to be shared by a few people; when my wife and I dined there the description sounded too large for the two of us. The menu has different categories: Explore (equivalent to appetizers), Summit (entrees), Conquer (desserts) and Divide (dishes to be shared) - the aforementioned dessert falls under the Divide heading. Cost wise, expect to pay about $90 per/person (including tax/tip) for three courses and two cocktails.

        1. re: Gonzo70

          Our dinner cost about $90.00 total for basically 3 entrees, one dessert, 2 colas and 2 coffees. We are not cocktail drinkers but we are winos. They do have a corkage fee of $25.00 per bottle and their wine servings are about $9 to $12.00 per glass. As we were going dancing after dinner (we dance Argentine Tango and swing) we did not want to load up on wine. Next time perhaps.

          And as for the $24.00 cookie dessert, it probably serves 4 people. But reviewers on other sites have raved about that dessert.

          Value wise the money spent on dinner here is very well spent. The quality of the food and presentation is very high. I would say that the cost of a meal for 2 is very reasonable and reasonably expensive. Now if you gorge on multiple appetizers and drinks, yes, the bill will be much higher than otherwise. We like to concentrate on the quality of the food and not of the drinks and again, we almost always go dancing after earlier dinners. This restaurant provides a very enjoyable dining experience. We even loved the piped in music!