So if it looks like a trip to Paris is out of the picture for this weekend. No worries, Paris Club has created a mini "City of Lights" in Chicago with its "Weekends in Paris" brunch bringing a certain je ne sais quoi to its Hubbard St. locale.
Jerrod and R. J. Melman’s Paris Club and its sexy rooftop sibling, Studio Paris, have become the go-to spots for celebrity sightings and A-list wannebes since arriving on the scene in 2011 in the former Brasserie Jo space.
The Lettuce Entertain You team has done a formidable job recreating the atmosphere of Chicago's sister city, Paris, at Paris Club. From the dark woods and Parisian-style bar accented in black and gold to the white subway tiles and foggy mirrors in the bistro-style dining room along with the large framed picture of the Eiffel Tower looking down on diners there's no questioning its savior-faire.
Paris Club's innovative new chef Alex Ageneau (Les Nomades, Sinatra, The Royce), a native of the Vendee region of France, is the real deal with a delightful trace of a French accent. The 29-year-old chef who arrived on the scene last fall has been making waves for his updated French cuisine with a dash of whimsy. Now Ageneau has added brunch to his repertoire.
The brunch menu which debuted late last month, just in time for Easter, is served from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The wide range of offerings should please both the serial brunch-goer and occasional brunch crowd with its inclusive menu--from seafood, pastries, salads, soups, upscale hamburgers with gruyère or bleu cheese and port-grilled onion OR its more traditional French fare that one would expect on a "Weekends in Paris" menu.
If money's no object or even if it is, you may want to kick-start your brunch with Le Grand Plateau (pictured at the top of this post). This three-level ocean of seafood is piled high with generous portions of lobster, oysters, snow crab claws, shrimp and king crab for $84.95. If you're not a little piggy, this platter should serve 4-6 as an hors d'oeuvre. For $34.95 diners can order a smaller Paris Club Plateau with the same seafood as Le Grand Plateau--just smaller portions.
The savory entrees include Norwegian Benedict with smoked salmon on a house-made brioche bun with hash browns; Eggs Benedict with house-cured ham (cured at neighboring Bub City); Lobster Soft Scrambled Eggs with black truffle and toasted baguette; or the French oeufs au plat with crispy bacon and fingerling potatoes to list a few. Ageneau's scrambled eggs are some of the creamiest, softest and airiest you'll ever sample. When asked his secret he readily admits to using 1/3 butter to 2/3 egg and then adding double cream. If you're counting calories, you may want to switch to one of the Benedicts with their perfectly poached eggs.
Make sure to save room for desert. One sweet example being Ageneau's Parisian Crepes with Nutella and toasted hazelnut. Another Ageneau sweet creation is his Belgian Waffle with a Speculoos (graham cracker crumb) filling.
If you are looking for a leisurely brunch with great atmosphere and outstanding food, consider adding Paris Club to your year 'round menu--be it summer when it sizzles or winter when it drizzles.
Paris Club. 59 W. Hubbard St., 312-595-0800.
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