Now that Chicago's finally come to its culinary senses and returned foie gras to the menu, it's time to get your share of the fatty duck liver. Since foie gras is expensive, and since it's apparently a terrible sin to prep the duck to make the liver, we've scoured Chicago to find the best and most creative foie gras dishes – so you can get the best of the bunch without sampling them all.
If you're dining at one of the top restaurants in the world, you can bet it'll have one of the top gourmet foods on the menu. Even the foie gras ban wasn't strong enough to remove the duck liver from the $225 tasting menu. Don't fill up too quickly, as Grant Achatz's cured foie gras wrapped in a crispy shell of mango and soy sauce is served as your 14th course—out of 28. Other specialties on the tasting menu are short ribs, lobster and ice fish.
This West Loop standout hasn't settled on an exact price for its foie gras yet, but we're betting diners will be willing to up the ante for the sauteed foie gras with poached rhubarb in Champagne vinegar, syrup, lemon confit, strawberry juice and strawberries. Even among the foodies of Randolph's restaurant row, this dish is sure to be a winner when it's officially placed on the menu this month.
If you're getting foie gras, you might as well go for the total splurge package, and you can find it here. For $145, sample the chef's market collection, which includes pan-seared foie gras, rhubarb, fiddlehead pistou, squash blossom, procini and ramp, frog legs with garlic, carrot and watercress, a selection of sashimi grade fish, and white asparagus-poached sturgeon, asparagus spaetzle, mushroom and onion infusion. Chef Rick Tramonto never took foie gras off the menu in his two Wheeling restaurants, but it's finally made its reappearance downtown at Tru.
The revamped Palmer House Hilton's restaurant spells the name wrong, but once you try Potter's "faux gras," you'll forgive the mistake. It's served here with fruit, a petite salad and croutons ($12) as an appetizer, and we'd recommend you stick to the savory foods here (the desserts leave something to be desired). So plant your behind on the soft, leather couches or grab a stool at the bar to order your foie gras and your champagne in style.
The biggest foie gras fans should head here, where you can get the luxurious delicacy in your appetizer and in your entree. Start with the Hudson Valley foie gras with pineapple, fennel, lavender and honey vinegar ($24). Then get ready for the whole roasted squab with foie gras, dates, glazed French radishes and crisp potato cake, marmalade, licorice root and pink peppercorns ($35). This dish is certainly something you'd never be able to make at home. Where do you get pink peppercorns, anyway?
Here's a little secret: Foie gras never left the menu here, although the words left the description. So if you ordered the smoked duck breast with braised parsley, marinated white asparagus and graham cracker crumbs ($35), you were getting a little extra treat. Now that it's officially allowed back onto the menu, it's more legit. So order without guilt at this trendy see-and-be-seen eatery.
Perhaps the most interesting take on foie gras has to be at Bin 36, where it's served as an appetizer called Housemade 5 Spice Donuts ($16). The Hudson Valley foie gras mousse is served with ice wine vinegar gelee, huckleberries and hazelnut pralines. Want some wine with your donut? Bin is always ready with suggestions for a glass, a bottle or a flight.