Perennial Virant (Chicago)

Perennial Virant (the other restaurant of Vie’s Paul Virant) is a new American restaurant located across the street from Chicago’s Lincoln Park at the base of the Hotel Lincoln.

Virant’s distinctives at Vie are replicated in this Lincoln Park area restaurant. It prides itself in being a farm-to-table type restaurant, meaning that you get the freshest ingredients every time . He and his team makes use of pickles, jams, or preserves appear in most dishes. This gives each dish a distinctive taste, all depending on what the pickling/preserving process was like. The meals have been described elsewhere as being “unfussy” and “straightforward” or even “simple.” To some these latter descriptions would downgrade their opinion of the restaurant, but this shouldn’t be the case. By keeping things simple Virant lets the flavors of each ingredient really pop. Though the dishes are simple they are still quite interesting and original.

The service was great – though the host seemed a bit baffled when we walked through the hotel side of the entrance and also when we said we didn’t have a reservation. They sat us pretty quickly, even though it was a Friday night. Our waiter was excellent, he was very knowledgeable and explained the menu and the dishes we chose in a detailed manner.

My wife and I ordered:

Pan Seared Arctic Char: grape aigre-doux, fermented carrots, beet puree, marinated golden beats, champagne vanilla vinnegrette.

Grilled Pork Porterhouse: mashed carrot, apricot jam, turnips, cilantro, grilled pickled jalapenos, pork jus.

You can really pick out the flavors of each ingredient (except for the jalapenos, I couldn’t taste those.)

We also ordered several cocktails – one tequila based cocktail which tasted very much like apple pie. And another called a “surly bear” which was reminiscent of an old fashioned.

Overall the experience was fantastic. The ambiance was casual but trendy. The service was friendly and the food was of top-notch quality.

Price per dish: $25-35

 Rating: 9/10

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