Graham Elliot's Ambitious Menu | Near North Side, Chicago

Stunning compositions from Graham Elliot's new chef

The fresh-pea soup is pooled around curls of jamon Ibérico, pickled and fried shallots, pea tendrils, fresh peas and lilac blossoms. It's a well-crafted bite the fires on all cannons: salty, sweet, sour and fresh.

This is spring at Graham Elliot under new chef Andrew Brochu, whose menu is a progression as striking on the plate as it is on the tongue.

Food this ambitious and seamless can only be found at a few restaurants in the city. Based on a recent evening's 13 courses, we encourage an immediate visit to the River North restaurant.

There, you may be presented with oyster mousse garnished with an oyster leaf and mignonette gel, or an artful crawfish boil draped with nasturtium leaves and edible flowers. We hope deconstructed pasta carbonara is offered, with wide ribbons of pasta, guanciale crisps and an egg yolk circled by Parmesan cream.

Try the full progression in the repertoire menu ($145), or a shortened eight-course tasting ($95). Or order from the small à la carte menu: A dinner of pea soup ($16), crawfish ($18) and crisp-skinned Jidori chicken with Vidalia onions and garlic ($35) is a thrilling way to celebrate the season–and the restaurant's new era.

Graham Elliot, 217 W. Huron St.; 312-624-9975 or