Bar Biscay offers flavors of Spain, France in West Town

EMBED </>More Videos

Bar Biscay is located in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood. (WLS)

The Bay of Biscay hugs the northern edge of Spain, but also the western side of France. Recently, a restaurant with the same name opened in Chicago's West Town recently.

There are influences from both the Basque country, as well as Bordeaux, and the vibe couldn't be more relaxed.

You see a lot of fresh lemon juice, white wine and olive oil back in the kitchen at Bar Biscay along Chicago Avenue, a follow-up by the team behind mfk in Lakeview. That's because acidity, and simplicity drive much of the Spanish and French-inspired menu.

"Lots of stews, lots of seafood, it gives us an amazing canvas to go off of," said Chef John Anderes.

Artichokes are cleaned and slowly stewed in olive oil, rendering them tender and soft.

"We takes the leaves, we braise them, puree them and then fold in aioli, so you get that artichoke flavor. The artichokes go on top. They get guajillo chile, breadcrumbs, more olive oil, more lemon juice," said Anderes.

A plate of peas topped by griddled bread that's crowned with carmelized onions and peppers barely reveals the secret ingredient: ground squid.
"Basically taking the method of making pork sausage, except grinding squid, adding a certain amount of salt to it, lemon zest, lemon juice," he said.

Cooked with garlic and shallots, the dish is enhanced with the addition of fresh herbs. A bean and sausage stew is hearty, but given a much-needed dose of refreshing brininess from sauteed clams and a fresh salad. Since much of the restaurant's influence is from Spain's Basque country, no surprise to see pinxtos - their version of tapas - which range from mussels, to asparagus over lentil puree, even black beans showered in paprika and sherry vinegar. A glass of either red or white vermouth on tap is the ultimate pairing. One thing they don't do here is waste. Every element can be used to some effect, either on the entrees or the smaller pinxtos.

"They byproduct from the squid dish is the tentacles; we pickle those and we'll make a salad out of it; make it really straightforward," said Anderes.

You could certainly come and have a traditional first course and a mid-course and then a heartier second course, but this style of eating really lends itself well to snacking and drinking and snacking some more, so don't feel guilty about just sitting at the bar and having some pinxtos and a glass of vermouth.

EXTRA COURSE: Bar Biscay's massive chocolate espresso cream puff

EMBED More News Videos

Extra Course: Bar Biscay's massice chocolate espresso cream puff

1450 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago
Related Topics:
foodhungry houndrestaurantChicagoWest Town
(Copyright ©2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

More hungry hound

More Food & Drink

Top Stories
Show More