222 E. Ontario | Chicago, IL 60611
Attention Chicago and fellow #foodies around the world, I have a new favorite restaurant and I can’t even pronounce it’s name. Les Nomades changed my world with a meal. This place is fantastic, and their EXclusion from the Michelin list frankly makes me question Michelin more than the INclusion of Sixteen, Boka, and Topolobampo. Avenues is great but alas only held the top slot for a brief period on my list before this quaint French orgasmitronomy romanced me. Avenues is still #1 of those restaurants given Michelin stars, but I PROUDLY, STRONGLY, FIRMLY RECOMMEND Les Nomades and hope to go back again soon.
I only have three full months left in the year as I continue on my Michelin star restaurant quest (See all reviews of the list here http://bit.ly/nGR9Vc). I have dined at roughly 3/4 of them so am on track. I have been impressed by a few, satisfied with many, and completely disappointed by some of the restaurants given stars. And I have a few very key spots still to go on the list, including Charlie Trotters, Tru, and Everest. Meanwhile, I decided to try one of the restaurants that generated the most surprise for NOT being awarded one of these “elusive” acknowledgments. It’s one thing to compare the 23 Michelin restaurants among themselves, but how about some of the ones that did not even get a nod. Thus, my visit to Les Nomades.
Most relevant comparisons from the Michelin list: L20 (taste of food); Takashi (taste and appearance of food); Ria (Decor, Service); Spiaggia (jackets required – no other comparisons), Avenues (Overall experience)
The food here was amazing. Every course, from the chef’s complimentary amous bouche to the deserts. Astoundingly good, perfectly prepared, appropriately temperatures. We all had 4-course Prix Fixe meals.
Me: Seared scallops with squash and chorizo, Duck consommee with organic root vegetables, Loup de mer, warm chocolate tart (Not a drop of a course was wasted though I tried to avoid licking my plates in public)
Both guests: Roasted quail with lentils, heirloom tomato salad, venison loin. One had the cheese tray for dessert and the other had the Grand Marnier souffle. (They especially loved the venison and quail but the heirloom salad was even uniquely presented and flavourful)
Beautiful. Ignoring the tacky hotel next door (not related to restaurant), you walk into what looks like a quaint french apartment. Cozy, comfortable, quiet enough to have a conversation, and decorated enough to keep your attention without overwhelming you. It was a beautiful room.
Although the restaurant requires jackets, it is a completely relaxed environment. At no time did we feel stuffy or pretentiousness like Spiaggia.
As was the case with Avenues, this place got Service perfect from the perspective of timing, attention to detail, and knowledge of the menu. But above and beyond Avenues, our server really seemed to want us to be happy and enjoy our pleasure. He was friendly, patient, attentive, and knowledgeable. I still wish we had a chance to see and interact with the sommolier but our server did a good job explaining the wine pairings.
Certainly not your everyday meal, the pricing of this restaurant is similar to Avenues, Boka, and L20 with similar quantities of food (though at L20 and Boka it is split over a greater number of smaller courses). Frankly, I was so in love with the food and the service I had a hard time worrying about the price. That means this place is a better value than any of the restaurants on the Michelin list, in my opinion.
Giving this place a 5 out of 5 is in no way a stretch and I would recommend it to anyone. I challenge you to go and tell me where I over-rated them. From walking in the door to going home, everything was perfect, with great service presenting phenomenal food in a beautiful environment. We left content, full, and relaxed. We were comfortable and satisfied. Michelin somehow missed this gem, calling into question their entire list in my opinion. There is NO WAY Sixteen can even hold a candle to Les Nomades. Compared to all of the Michelin recognized restaurants, this place is the winner. Therefore, I PROUDLY, STRONGLY, FIRMLY RECOMMEND Les Nomades and hope to go back again soon.
In relationship with #foodies,