Blackbird opened in 1997 and Executive Chef Paul Kahan won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef in 2013. That means that in the 6 years Blackbird has been open, the food has gotten even better and more exciting. I spent 5 hours there on New Year’s Eve 2012 eating a 10 course tasting meal with some of my best friends. We were a relatively large group in a small space surrounded by couples but the wait staff orchestrated our meal at the perfect unhurried pace. One of my friends has a crazy number of allergies and every course was adjusted for her without any issues at all. The wine pairings were ideal, there was so much food I couldn’t finish the last couple of courses and I’ve never had beef tartare so luscious. I’ve had a lot of great food in Chicago but that 5 hour meal at Blackbird stands out.
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Best Fancy Deal: Weekday $22 Fixe Prixe at Blackbird
I'm lucky to have food loving friends to tell me about this amazing deal. Normally, the menu items are triple the price at dinner but you get an appetizer, main and dessert for $22 at lunch during the week. It really gives you the chance to try out a nice restaurant. I loved the simplicity and intimacy of this white yet warm room full of business folk but food loving patrons as well. I got: the arctic char, the duck and the winter coup for dessert. I also recommend splurging on a boozy cocktail. They're delicious here. Ryan, the bartender, is the best. He even wrote down his favourite recommendations for me (again, always talk to the bartender for the best local restaurant/bar tips. They know). One of the best deals in Chicago, I found.