Paris on Clark

Refined, French-inspired dishes at River North's Brindille

Carrie Nahabedian set out to create an elegant, gently creative, high-end restaurant inspired by her love of Paris. In Brindille, she has succeeded.

From extensive time spent eating at Parisian tables, we can authoritatively say that Brindille's cuisine would fit well into that city's dining landscape. How fortunate, though, that it resides in ours instead.

Brindille is not a destination for the revelatory; rather, it's a source for familiar ingredients and compositions executed with a refined, judicious hand. Here, steak tartare ($21) is a delicate affair, topped with a garden of micro-herbs and flanked by sorrel and tarragon aioli. Broccoli forms the base of a silky soup, dotted with crème fraîche and crisped bacon, served with toast and warmed Brin d'Amour cheese on the side ($15).

Dover sole meunière ($46) is a treat, served with first-of-the-season asparagus and bright citrus flavors in the form of Meyer lemon curd, grapefruit juice, candied grapefruit rind and lemon balm. What to drink? The 2008 Domaine Berthet-Bondet Naturé, a natural wine from Jura, is not inexpensive ($65 for 750 ml), but drinks like a white Burgundy worth double the price.

Though the savory dishes stood out more than the desserts, we wholeheartedly endorse a classic–and highly devourable–cherry-almond clafoutis ($13).