Fine French Dining in a Quiet, Civilized Setting
Our party of four loved the hushed atmosphere in this comfortable, intimate Streeterville townhouse this evening. The clientele at Les Nomades are Chicago's upper crust: established, wealthy, and mature. The new menu under Chris Nugent has a great mix of wild game and fowl, along with signature dishes. We were greeted with knowledgeable, friendly waiters who made us feel at home. Everything at this restaurant has a hand-picked, custom feel to it; even the olives in a martini or the whole grain sourdough bread served in the bread basket. The cuisine soars here, from the amuse bouche of smoked salmon, a sweetbread puff, and a tiny mushroom soup terrine with white truffle foam to the melt-in-your-mouth venison loin. While the portions are small, the flavors are large and satisfy. If you have an appetite, I would opt for the 5 course meal at $112. Among our choices, stand outs were the langoustine and scallop appetizer, the asparagus with poached egg, the hearty lamb portion, and the amazingly light and airy passion fruit souffle. The fish courses were delicious, but rather small, and we all wished there had been more than just two options on the menu. A minor disappointment was my veal loin: ordered medium rare but arrived medium well. The wine list was overwhelming and 90% French.
The service was about 90% perfect, but there were some tiny issues that detract from a restaurant of this quality. While our decanted wine and water was constantly filled, we did wait a bit between our fish and main course, and then waited to have our main course plates cleared. The diner next to us was disappointed that her red wine was served chilled. These are small quibbles, but when everything seems to be designed for a perfect experience, little things stand out.
Dessert course included an extra plate for the table of tiny homemade chocolate mint candies, orange jellies, mini meringues, and cookies. Expect to spend over $200 per person with tip.