Prix Fixe RestaurantAddress: 4835 N. Western Avenue
Offering a limited menu at a fixed price might seem like a restrictive business plan in a neighborhood that offers almost every cuisine known to mankind, but Prix Fixe restaurant (4835 N. Western Avenue) plays to its strengths and deserves to be a new dining destination in Lincoln Square.
The transformation of the space is reason enough to seek out the restaurant’s off-the beaten-path location between Fashion Elegance and Chicago Soccer near the intersection with Gunnison Street.
The unwelcoming vibe of the formerly Eastern European grill has been replaced by a sophisticated bistro with an open kitchen and staff decked out in chef’s whites. The attention to detail in the décor matches the attentive service, which is augmented by externs from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.
Fixed price menus are nothing new, but they are much more prevalent in French restaurants where dining formulas are a way of life. Having recently returned from a trip to the homeland of escargot and vin de table, I was instantly reminded of some of the neighborhood restaurants I sought out.This translates to a relaxed pace, dishes made to order, and careful plating so don’t attempt a visit unless you can devote most of your evening to dinner.
Prix Fixe presents a three-course meal for $35, with three choices per course (vegetarian, animal and fish options for entrée). Even with the limited options, my husband and I ended up eating very different meals.
I eased into dinner with a clear broth bean soup, which was followed by sauteed whitefish in a tarragon-chive beurre blancserved with roesti (a.k.a. potato pancake). My husband tucked into a hearty salad Lyonnaise and satisfying portion of Coq au Vin served over house-made egg noodles. I rounded out my meal with heirloom apple tarte tartin and he managed to find room for caramelized blue cheese served with poached pears. Fortunately both items are still listed on the menu.
The husband and wife team (chef John Fuente and general manager Alisa Gaylon) live up to their pledge of using local ingredients by sourcing most of their produce and herbs from Simply Wisconsin, LLC and finding their meats and fish close to home. Since many of the ingredients are seasonal in nature, the website is constantly updated as the menu evolves.
Currently the operation is BYOB while they wait for their liquor license. Eventually they hope to offer craft beers and local wines, and their other plans include Sunday brunch and “family dinners” on Thursday nights.
The restaurant also pledges to accommodate any food allergies, intolerances, medical and religious dietary restrictions and “lifestyle choices.” While I commend them for their flexibility I assume that doesn’t mean they want me to show up in sweat pants when I try their brunch.