Classic Tables: North Pond

This Lincoln Park staple is flourishing in its teenage years

North Pond is firing on all cylinders, with a new pastry chef, a recent Best Chef Great Lakes award from the James Beard Foundation, and a creative new summer menu.

Perched on its namesake Lincoln Park pond, the restaurant risks being overlooked. It is 14 years old, after all.

But North Pond's dishes are no less relevant or exciting than those at the newest local/seasonal/creative spot. Case in point: plancha-seared squid with carrot purée, carrot ribbons, ink-dyed Israeli couscous, charred spring onions, shaved cucumber and juniper-scented oil ($12). It was a riot of flavors and textures that have been on our mind since we tried the dish.

Likewise the arugula and Little Gem salad, scattered with last-of-the-season strawberries and fava beans, and accompanied by a savory Paris-Brest and a swath of garlicky green-goddess dressing ($13). Seared duck breast and confit thigh were accompanied by a slew of Bing and tart cherries ($38), a precious find in this cherry-bereft year.

Pastry chef Greg Mosko, a French Laundry alum, is making some of the city's most architectural and elegant compositions, like reconstructed cheesecake with apricots, roasted-apricot sorbet, candied fennel and graham crackers ($11).

North Pond, 2610 N. Cannon Dr.; 773-477-5845 or northpondrestaurant.com