Blue 13 has been on my list for a long time, so I was excited when a friend invited me along on her Restaurant Week reservation. We did a quick divide and conquer of the menu, choosing to stay on the $33 prix fixe. The pan seared scallops and steak and eggs were tempting options on the $44 side, but we felt there was enough to keep us happy. And bonus? On the evening we were there, they had half-priced bottles of wine.
We thoroughly enjoyed the appetizer course. I had the three beet salad which consisted of three different preparations of beets, healthy chunks of feta, and endive drizzled with a champagne vinaigrette. My friend dove into her duck confit tortellini, which was generously portioned pockets of duck surrounded by perfectly cooked pasta and topped with fresh parsley.
The main courses were equally successful. My pan seared arctic char was cooked to perfection with a crispy skin. It was served with a grain salad that was simply amazing — a combination of nutty grain and quinoa. I want that recipe. I didn’t try my friend’s Guinness Braised Veal Cheeks, though I did sneak a Brussels sprout off her plate. I strongly feel that other restaurants need to come and study where Blue 13 buy their sprouts and find out how they prepare them because these were so sweet and tender.
Dessert didn’t live up to the bar the other courses set. The waiter brought our coffee and desserts before we were finished with the wine, so they sat there and got a little cold, melted and soggy while we quaffed. My apple crisp didn’t have the crunchy top that I expect from this dessert, though it tasted very good. The peanut butter waffle was drenched in chocolate syrup, which hid candied bits of meat that neither the waiter nor the menu warned us about. I think that most vegetarians would agree that a head’s up on meat in the dessert would be a good thing.
Overall, I found Blue 13 to be quite good and will add it to my list of restaurants to visit again. And that’s really the point of Restaurant Week, isn’t it? To find places to try without the commitment of paying full price for an unknown chef/restaurant/experience? I hope your Restaurant Week was as good as mine. However, if you were unable to take advantage, several places are offering extensions. Check the Chicago Restaurant Week site for details.
416 W Ontario St
Chicago, IL 60654