2610 North Cannon Dr.
Chicago, IL 60614
American | $$$$
On a long overdue trip to Chicago to visit friends and family we had the good fortune of dining at North Pond. It’s hard to find a more ideal location for a free standing restaurant in a city. The north pond of Lincoln Park is the perfect oasis setting for the beautifully renovated Arts-and-Crafts-style former skaters’ warming house.
North Pond has been under the watchful eye of native Chicagoan Chef Bruce Sherman since 1999. Sherman won the “Best Chef: Great Lakes Region” award from the James Beard Foundation in 2012. Just this month Sherman and North Pond received a well-deserved 1 star from the Michelin Chicago Guide.
Getting to the restaurant is easy. Valet park or have the taxi drop you at the corner of N. Lakeview Ave. and W. Deming Pl. From there it’s a short walk to the restaurant and the pond. There is a wonderful view of the city skyline from the patio if weather permits outside seating.
My meal began with an excellent first course of seared foie gras, peanut brittle, concord grape gelée, green celery, salted peanut macaronnade cookies, and Riesling glaçe. The foie gras was spectacular, flawlessly seared and a sizable portion for such a delicacy.
My Bibb lettuce with buttermilk dressing was very good.
For my main course I chose New York striploin steak medallions, veal cheek; celeriac puree, glazed celery, and giardiniera. My steak was cooked perfectly and tender. The giardiniera was especially tasty and not to spicy as I had feared. The glazed celery had a wonderful dense flavor that was not what I expected. I am not sure what I expected, but it was unlike any celery I had eaten.
Getting full use of their left over patio building material my dessert came on the same rock as my salad. It’s nice but twice in one dinner is a bit much. Especially where dessert is concerned, I like a smooth surface so I am sure I get every last speck.
My chocolate and berries dessert included chocolate ganache, white chocolate mint mousse, mulberries, red raspberries, and cucumber mint sorbet. Pastry Chef Greg Mosko did a masterful job of achieving the right minty balance in the cucumber mint sorbet. It is easy to go overboard and give it a cucumber taste that makes your tongue shrivel, so I commend him for holding back and giving it a faintly minty taste.
Our wait staff was very attentive and took care of everything we needed. The noise level was on the high side at an average of 84 decibels. If I had one complaint it was the lighting. What seems trending in upscale restaurants these days is the idea lighting must be set somewhere between power outage and candle light vigil. Luckily I always carry a flashlight and we passed it around so we could order without surprises. This was unexpected at North Pond given the restaurant is so beautiful. I would have thought they would crank the lights to give everyone a chance to see what a wonderful job they did remodeling the space.
It was a superb meal in an idyllic setting. We look forward to returning on a future trip to the Windy City.