Monday, February 18, 2013

perennial virant

perennial virant is the brain child of chef paul virant, who is also the man behind the celebrated restaurant, vie just outside of chicago. i was introduced to vie when paul virant made an apperance on food network's iron chef america against masaharu morimoto. i was even more excited to find out about perennial virant because it meant i could try the chef's creation at a more affordable price!


located in the neighborhood of lincoln park, the restaurant is located at the south end of lincoln park. in late spring and throughout summer, you can watch the vendors selling beautiful and colorful fresh produce and some freshly made delicious food ranging from italian favorites to homemade pies to burgers at the outdoor farmer's market, occupying the park just across from the restaurant.



the decor at perennial virant is cozy -- think of perhaps the experience of having a meal at a friend's place. :) as you enter the main entrance, you will be greeted with a bar counter. then when you are led into the dining area, the rustic wooden tables fills the space with cushioned chairs. the room is surrounded by full length windows curtained by light white fabric, allowing some of the warm sunlight to stream into the restaurant. there is also patio seating, lovely for the warmer days.


i know i've waited to long to post about this restaurant when one of the items are no longer on the menu. ><

but first, i started out with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, which was sweet with a tinge of tartness. i did wish for some pulp - yes, i am weird like that ;) haha.



pv specialties :: perkins farm ham steak | leek bread pudding . vanilla pear aigre-doux . nichols farm watercress ($15)


for some unexplicable reason, i had a hankering for some salty ham for brunch! at first glance, the beautiful presentation that aptly represent their farm-to-table concept, starting with the lovely crossed grilled marks on the ham "steak" topped with fresh greens - it set me up for high expectations for the dish.


the sauce was a delight - it was a very soft whisper of vanilla but the sweetness of pear came through with occasional bursts of flavor from the diced pear, which complimented the fresh greens. the leek bread pudding was soft and seasoned well with a slight sweetness with light onion-y flavor to it.


what was disappointing was the star of the dish itself - the ham steak. the "steak" was dry and overcooked. texturally unpleasant that i tried aiding the meat by dousing it in sauce. at one point i thought to myself, is it possible to cook ham to the point it's dry? the flavor profile was great with the saltiness of the ham mellowed by the sweetness of the sauce, which was rounded by the hearty leek bread pudding and the freshness of the greens. it had so much promise!


pv specialties :: house smoked salmon | crispy grits. pickled ramps. spicy tomato. pickled garlic . one sunnyside egg ($14)


presentation was slightly weaker in comparison although the red from the tomato sauce was eye-catching  i only had a small bite to taste but the loose gravy took away some of the crispiness of the gritz. {xy} mentioned it started off crispy and became soggy towards the last bites. i actually expected the smoked salmon to be mostly raw so i was quite surprised to see it fully cooked. i thought the sauce needed more herbs but {xy} commented that he liked the burst of flavor and everything else except for the portion size. he was finished eating while i was halfway through mine lol.

we contemplated on dessert from here but we simply could not agree on one to share so instead, i decided to get some freshly-fried-crispy-sugar-coated-bite-sized-zeppole (what italian donuts is lovingly called) that i spied earlier in the outdoor farmer's market. they were still warm and greasily yummy! a lovely way to end my brunch :)


my visit to perennial virant ended up being a bit of a disappointment - perhaps it was because i had high expectations for the place because i've been wanting to come here for a while now  on top of all the great things i've read about this restaurant. i'd probably give this restaurant another try before picking the "love, okay, meh or yuck" stand on this place since my dish featured a wonderfully balanced flavor profile - the execution was lacking on the highlight of the dish.


perennial virant | location

1800 n. lincoln ave, 
chicago, il 60614, 
united states

{yummy-ness | 2.5 forks out of 5 }
{worth trying | awaiting for my second food tasting here}

disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.

Perennial Virant on Urbanspoon



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