A Step Ahead

Goosefoot is Chicago's most ambitious new BYOB

Les Nomades, that old-school Gold Coast bastion of French-inspired fine dining, flies under the radar despite its central location.

Because of this, the elegant, sophisticated cooking of its young chef, Chris Nugent, was often overlooked.

His new restaurant, Goosefoot, is a destination.

It is a tiny BYOB on a quiet strip just west of Lincoln Square. Nugent offers one eight-course menu ($90) nightly. His wife greets you at the door, and he works the galley kitchen; this is a personal, intimate affair.

It's an ambitious one, too. The opening dish on his current menu is a stunner, with butter-poached lobster, delicate Hubbard squash agnolotti and Maitake mushrooms cloaked in lobster-coconut-Madras curry broth. Shavings of Parmesan and a gentle froth of licorice root steeped in coconut milk garnish the bowl.

Nugent describes this dish as one of his simpler preparations. Quail with compressed apples is more technically complex, and its accompanying lentils are flavored with a profoundly savory mixture of soy sauce, cumin, tomatoes, citrus and ginger. A dessert of Cinderella pumpkin and nougatine is superb, packing a roller coaster of textures onto the plate while still feeling well edited.

It bears repeating: A visit to Goosefoot is a must.

Goosefoot, 2656 W. Lawrence Ave.; 773-942-7547 or goosefoot.net