Beer steers menu at Michelin-starred Band of Bohemia

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Ravenswood's Band of Bohemia brings European flair to Chicago.

The Michelin guide is a big deal in Europe and Asia, but in America it's not quite as well-known. But if you happen to be mentioned among its pages, you can bet it's something worth bragging about.

The only Michelin-starred brewpub in Chicago is currently celebrating its position in the guide, thanks in part to the arrival of their relatively new chef.

There is a strong sense of collaboration going on at Band of Bohemia in Ravenswood.

"A group of people coming together, under one roof, with different traits," said Chef Ian Davis.

That means beer brewed on-site, a progressive wine program, plus coffee, tea and food, of course. That's where Davis comes in. A veteran of some of the best kitchens in the world, he says he cooks based on what they're brewing.

"It drives the restaurant, it's the whole reason why. Beer comes first," said Davis.

But since he loves eggs, he had to put some on the menu in a big way.

"You can go anywhere to have eggs. But a perfect French omelet is rare and hard to come by," he said.

Extremely rare. Davis carefully sets the omelet, pulling it from the salamander, rolling it up and plating it, before brushing with butter, then topping with a brown butter crumble, some chives and a generous amount of osetra caviar. Homemade naan is cooked over their impressive grill, then used as a base for Japanese fried eggplant.

"It's just a Mediterranean taco if you think about it like that. Old Bay aioli, pickled sport peppers, cilantro and mint," he said.

One of his richer entrees combines shredded duck confit - that's duck that's been preserved and cooked in its own fat - with peas and cream.

"I used to live in London and in London they use double cream," he said. "They reduce heavy cream to get that mouthfeel, so we add a little double cream, a little bit of butter, the duck, peas, pickled turmeric."

He adds mafaldini, a pasta rarely seen in Chicago.

"It's a cross between a rigatoni and a lasagna," said Davis.

Paired with their bruja beer, which is brewed with beets, it's a winning combination.

"Lasagna sheets are a little bit larger, rigatoni is a little bit smaller; it's that middle ground," he said.

Don't think for a minute that Band of Bohemia is a breakfast place. They don't open until 4:30 in the afternoon, but this omelet is just textbook French technique, and like the chef recommends, you've got to have it with a glass of champagne of course.

And in Steve's extra course video, he takes a look at two of the restaurant's desserts: one that's been on their menu since they opened; another that's brand new.

Band of Bohemia
4710 N. Ravenswood Ave.
(773) 271-4710
http://www.bandofbohemia.com/

In Steve's Extra Course video, he checks out Band of Bohemia's desserts.


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Steve tries out the desserts at Band of Bohemia.

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