Dining

French Kiss

Love for Maude's Liquor Bar

Those who yearn for the buttery texture and seductive richness of raw meat: Prepare to pledge devotion to the newest tartare in town.

You'll find it at Maude's Liquor Bar, the Parisian-bistro-inspired newcomer in the West Loop, where the architects of Gilt Bar--owner Brendan Sodikoff, plus ex-Alinea chef de cuisine Jeff Pikus--have turned their focus to casual French classics.

For the tartare ($17), steak tenderloin is laced with capers, shallots, parsley, Espelette pepper and Calabrian chiles for gentle heat. Stir its garnish, an egg yolk slow-poached until custardy, into the meat, then pile on crisp toasted bread.

Though it needs no doctoring, mustard-spiked aioli and a bottle of Sriracha (in lieu of the standard Parisian condiment, Tabasco) come on the side. To drink: Champagne or a refreshing Chartreuse-ginger smash cocktail ($11).

Maude's French onion fondue ($11) is a lusty, brothless version of the standard soup, with blistered cheese and sweet braised onions to be spread on bread. Order it alongside a foie gras torchon, rimmed with piquant spices ($18), when indulgence is the evening's objective.

The sole dessert--crème brûlée ($8)--is an exemplary version of the classic, with silky custard and a caramelized sugar cover, bronzed and burnt by a traditional iron press that Sodikoff had custom-made.

Now that's devotion.

Maude's Liquor Bar, 840 W. Randolph St.; 312-243-9712 or maudesliquorbar.com

Maude's Liquor Bar 840 W. Randolph St. Chicago IL 60607 312-243-9712

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