Wednesday, June 10

Parachute

How do I even begin to describe one of the most amazing meals I've had in this city? From first bite to last, everything was perfection at Avondale's Parachute. The 40-seat Korean American restaurant is probably one of the most buzzed about restaurants in the Chicago dining scene, especially after receiving a James Beard Award nomination for Best New Restaurant, and three stars from the Chicago Tribune's Phil Vettel. The restaurant's success in its first year is truly remarkable as described in a recent Eater interview with chef-owners Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark.

The BF and I secured a weeknight reservation (Parachute now takes reservations) in celebration of our six year anniversary. I had pretty high expectations for my meal and they were certainly exceeded. The decor in the cozy restaurant is definitely minimal, aside from the retro radios lining the length of one wall. I didn't mind--I felt like this really helped focus our attention on the food. Our server was very knowledgeable and walked us through dish suggestions, and offered translations when needed. The menu is divided into three sections, smaller appetizer options, larger plates, and desserts. It was recommended we order about four to six items for our party of two, so that's exactly what we did (it was a lot of food!).

To start, we tried the crispy sesame leaves with bourbon barrel soy sauce. The tempura batter was light albeit greasy, but the real stunner was the sauce. I could have dipped everything in that sauce, it was fantastic.

Parachute Chicago
Crispy Sesame Leaves, Bourbon Barrel Soy
Our second starter is probably the most famous dish at Parachute (and for good reason). The baked potato bing bread is available in full or half orders but regardless of your party size, go with the full order. This was great advice given to us and after taking one bite you'll be happy you supersized your order. The bread has hearty chunks of bacon, potato and scallion baked in, and is topped with a generous amount of sesame seeds. But wait, there's more. Sour cream butter on the side.

Parachute Chicago
Baked Potato Bing Bread, Bacon, Scallion & Sour Cream Butter
Our next dish was the pork belly and mung bean pancake. I loved the beautiful presentation and the huge chunks of pork belly tucked away inside the pancake. On top there was a perfect hen egg and pineapple which cut the heaviness of the pancake and was a great pairing with the pork.

Parachute Chicago
Pork Belly and Mung Bean Pancake, Kimchi, Black Garlic, Hen Egg, Pineapple
After the heavy pancake, we tried the black lentil mandu which are Korean dumplings. The dish is served with greens (bok choy?) on top which we peeled away to reveal a cluster of the little green dumplings. The dumplings were served in a green curry and topped with peas and pistachios. I thought it was extremely flavorful and there also were strong notes of lemongrass. We used the greens to soak up some of that wonderful green curry.

Parachute Chicago
Black Lentil Mandu, Spring Peas, Green Curry, Pistachio
Parachute Chicago
Black Lentil Mandu, Spring Peas, Green Curry, Pistachio
Our last two dishes were definitely the largest and heaviest. The butcher's steak was certainly not a dish I expected to see on the menu, however it was delicious. As with the mandu, we had to peel away a layer of purple cabbage on top to get to the strips of rare steak. Can I just say the cabbage was stunning? Yes, stunning. That purple hue is not something you see everyday on your plate! Underneath the pieces of steak was a generous amount of Roquefort cheese that packed a flavorful punch!

Parachute Chicago
Butcher's Steak, Roquefort, Miso, Cabbage
Lastly we tried the bi bim bop, the dish I was most excited for. Parachute changes the preparation from time to time and the version we had included Spanish mackerel, escarole, preserved lemon, barbequed onion, seaweed, and a soft egg, all on top of rice. It was brought out in a piping hot stone pot with all of the ingredients neatly organized. We were instructed to stir the pot until all ingredients were mixed together. It was nice to get the runny yolk of the egg all over the bowl's contents. Mark my words. This will be one of the best dishes I ate in 2015. So many different flavors, textures, and colors! And that barbequed onion? The smoke was so prevalent that if you closed your eyes you'd think you were at a backyard barbecue. As we ate, the remaining rice at the bottom of the bowl became extra crispy and crunchy. Amazing!

Parachute Chicago
Dolsot Bi Bimp Bop, Spanish Mackerel, Escarole, Preserved Lemon, Barbequed Onion, Seaweed, Soft Egg
I can't remember the last time I had a meal where each dish was so complex in terms of having layers of flavors and textures. I was completely impressed by our meal, the service, the space, and really the entire experience. Don't just walk to Parachute. Run. 

I'm giving Parachute a perfect 5 ghosts out of 5!





Parachute
www.parachuterestaurant.com
3500 N. Elston Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618
773.654.1460
Click to add a blog post for Parachute on Zomato 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...