This week’s highlight was a tasting at the classic French bistro Mon Ami Gabi, located in the beautiful Belden Stratford in Lincoln Park. I’m generally impressed by most LEYE restaurants, but especially for French food lovers, Mon Ami Gabi should be your first pick.
Executive Chef Michael Battocletii has ensured that patrons leave the restaurant with the French connection they desire. And his resume boasts restaurants such as Next, so you get an idea of his culinary prowess. Chef’s constant thirst for creativity can be seen in new dishes that are always rotating on the menu but never without compromising what the restaurants originally stands for.
I had the pleasure of experiencing this creativity over lunch and indulging my love for everything French. Escargots are usually my benchmark for a good French restaurant, so it made sense to start with it. And you bet I did so with a tall glass of their house Bordeau. French food without French wine would be a travesty, no?
The tasting commenced with the Wild Escargots De Bourgogne; oven-roasted snails in a garlic-herb butter sauce. I probably don’t need to say much more after that except that that they were divine! Chewy (in the best way possible), and immersed in a rich parsley-flavored butter that I may have dipped several pieces of the baguette in. For pescetarians who like fish without the fishy taste, you wouldn’t even know these are snails, but would still be blown away.
Chef then sent out a variety of dishes such as the Shrimp Cocktail from the Froid (cold) section of their menu, the Endive & Raddichio Salad and the Smoked Salmon Blinis.
The blinis are actually from their brunch menu, which I had specially asked to try. And I’m really glad I did, because it was certainly my favorite from the tasting. Fresh slices of smoked salmon folded over tender, bite-sized pancakes and topped with fennel and capers. Yum!
These were entirely delicious and in my opinion, the perfect partner to the glass of wine I was having. I could see it go well even with a glass of mimosa if you were brunching.
And while the shrimp meat in the shrimp cocktail was as fresh and plump as one would hope for, their house-made cocktail sauce it came with was the highlight! Known as Gabi’s sauce, it was mysteriously delightful with subtle hints of horseradish and lemon. I shamelessly doused the shrimp in it with every bite I took, and then proceeded to lick my fingers. Wait till you try it!
The salad with slices of gala apples, blue cheese and cider vinaigrette served as a wonderful addition to the meal. And I felt better about consuming some greens!
For my main, I ordered the Trout Almondine in a brown butter sauce drizzled with lemon. A gorgeous piece of fish arrived at the table, and served as a reminder that sometimes simplicity is best! The dish is unassuming, and the fish comes lightly coated in flour and placed in a rich, delectable sauce. I felt like the dish tasted better with every bite and I couldn’t get enough.
Every aspect of this tasting, from the atmosphere, the food, to the service was flawless. I cannot wait to return for dinner and check out the evening vibe at Mon Ami Gabi.
Mon Ami Gabi
Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
Address: Belden Stratford, 2300 N Lincoln Park W, Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: (773) 348-8886
Hours: Mon- Thurs: 5:00pm 9:30pm, Fri: 5:00pm-10:30pm, Sat: 4:00pm – 10:30pm, Sun: 10AM–2PM, 4–8:30
Price: $8.95 - $39.95