The Peasantry | The Geneva Convention: The Peasantry

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Peasantry

James knows that the way to my heart is through my stomach, so when we take a trip somewhere, we almost always make a stop at what is (or should be) a destination for food lovers. Like any big city, Chicago has a lot to offer in that respect, so we narrowed our search with the following criteria: must have beer for James; must have interesting food and cocktails for Geneva; must be within walking distance of our AirBnB.

I toyed briefly with North Pond (the Michelin Star is hard to resist), but we ended up at The Peasantry, and I can't find the words to express how wonderful that experience was. From the very first sip of my very first cocktail, I regretted not bringing along my DSLR, but I want everyone to know about this place, so you'll have to put up with grainy iPhone photos.

I suppose I should start with the service. The owner himself handled our table and gave us the inside scoop on his favorite cocktails, beers, and menu items. Even on the rare occasions when we went against his recommendations, we were seriously impressed.

Old Fashioned and Bourbon Beer

We had spent the evening before at the Signature Lounge, where the cocktails were fine, but nothing spectacular. The cocktails at the Peasantry were a revelation. I started with the French Orchard, which was perfectly balanced and fruity without falling into the trap of being too sweet. It was easily one of the best cocktails I have ever had, but I went ahead and branched out to a smooth, mellow Old Fashioned for the next round. Meanwhile, James enjoyed a selection of draft beers and sampled his first Barley Wine.

Beet Salad at the Peasantry
Rabbit at the Peasantry

James chose to order two small plates for his dinner -- the beet salad and the rabbit. I tried a bite of each, for the sake of journalism. ;) I didn't care much for the salad, but that is due entirely to my hereditary aversion to beets. The rabbit was sublime -- crispy on the outside, gamey and flavorful on the inside, on a bed of perfectly cooked risotto.

Steak Frites at the Peasantry

I ordered the steak frites, and I'm still in raptures about it. The triple truffle fries (that's truffle butter, truffle oil, and truffle salt) are also available as a side order, and I insist that you get them even if you don't get the steak. You will not have leftovers; you may have to cross knives over the last one. They are that good. The steak is also worth fighting over -- a wonderful char on the outside, served with a brandy peppercorn sauce. It is the platonic ideal of steak. Fortunately, James doesn't like red meat as much as I do, and I wasn't compelled to share more than a bite or two.

PB&J at the Peasantry
Mayan Chocolate at the Peasantry

Moving on to dessert: above you can see the PB&J -- a sort of deconstructed desserty version of the childhood favorite, with peanut butter mousse, a grape gelee, and a kind of sweet tahini crisp in place of the bread. It came with whole grapes, peanuts lightly spiced with cayenne, and a pistachio puree. We were glad we ordered it, if only for the novelty, but we preferred the Mayan Chocolate (mousse, I guess, although that isn't how they put it on the menu, and it isn't on the website). The chocolate was enhanced by the subtle heat underneath, cut by the refreshingly tart raspberry coulis and the candied pistachios on top. It may not look like much, but it was certainly an A+, especially when paired with the Chenet.

I have thought about this meal at least once a day since we left Chicago, and I'm telling everyone I know to pay the Peasantry a visit. I can't wait to go back myself and give their award-winning Affogato a try! Next time you're in town, make sure you stop by for dinner during the week or brunch on Saturday and Sunday (they have a deal on mimosas!).

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to hear from you!