Sunday, October 22, 2006

Chef/Owner Paul Kahan


Dîner du Merleau (Little Blackbird)

By Vice-Chargée de Presse Jeanne Cahill

Chef/Owner Paul Kahan welcomed the Chicago Chapter to his West Loop urban-chic Blackbird restaurant in late October, 2006 and continues to be a key influence on Chicago’s much-heralded fine dining scene.  Paul, who epitomizes the term “a chef’s chef”, has cleverly managed to remain natural and accessible which, in turn, brings him loyalty from his diners.

The restaurant’s clean, minimalist lines presage the approach to food: purity of flavors, creative but uncontrived dishes where taste and freshness is valued above all else.  A series of exquisitely prepared courses were laid before us – Blackbird’s small team working very hard to produce and serve no less than 300 plus served and plated preparations for us.

The wine pairings were thought about, talked about and considered during each course and the crispy veal sweetbreads and preserved black truffles certainly did justice to the 1985 Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou.  Two nine year old Chardonnays were also an unique opening to this abstract environment, both of which worked well with the fattiness of the veal cheek .  Some cutting edge American cheeses from Georgia, Colorado and Massachusetts allowed us to deliberate and consider a 1982 Château Pape Clement illustrating the fine art of winemaking.

Paul is a man who never stands still and his lively creativity was on display that night and eager to dialogue with the members to discover their thoughts taking questions in a good natured way – his philosophy on display and revealing the intricacies of each dish’s preparation.  Blackbird has maintained its integrity in the ever-changing culinary scene of Chicago – this all bound together and assimilated into Blackbird’s unique concept of French-influenced American seasonal dishes.