A group of eight of us had a very congenial dinner on a quiet Sunday evening at Aquitaine in Chicago's Lincoln Park -- motivated in part because all of us have some degree of closeness to France, and partly for a shared interest in the 13th century historical figure of Eleanor -- which we learned we had in common with Holly our chef and hostess, who keeps a shelf of histories and biographies of Eleanor behind the bar.
A group that size would be hard in a busy time, as the room is small and the service is relaxed -- it would not be a venue in which to be rushed. Jessica our server took good care of us -- noting again that managing a group in a hurry would put stress on this modest bistro.
We sampled fairly broadly across the menu, which is ambitiously diverse -- perhaps to a fault, where a more limited selection might well serve. Our selection of starters included two soups - onion and smoked mushrooms, and three salads -- kale, beet and caesar; mains included a savory tart, pan-seared trout and glazed salmon, duck breast and my own favorite, a flavorful pork shoulder. The single wine on the modest list from the eponymous region of France was a quite satisfactory Chinon.
Holly surprised us with a tasty dessert course -- lemon custard in puff pastry shells -- which contributed to a modest all-in cost of just over $50 each -- nice value for this comfortably scaled experience.