Blackbird is a celebrated restaurant which was the first restaurant of James Beard Award winning chef, Paul Kahan. While Kahan is still the Executive Chef, David Posey is the Chef de Cuisine and handles the day to day operations. It is a very popular restaurant and it has been on my list for a long time but I finally came here when it was open for lunch for Restaurant Week. While Blackbird is normally open for lunch and they normally have a prix fixe for lunch, it is located downtown and I work in the suburbs so I really don't have a chance to come for lunch normally. It's also open for dinner but as I said, it is very popular and isn't easy to just walk in and takes some planning if I were to want to come here.
Despite the name, Blackbird is not black. As a matter of fact, it is actually very white with a glass front wall. The restaurant is long and narrow with a bar on one side and banquette seating on the other with a semi-open kitchen at the back of the restaurant. It has a very clean and simple design with white tables and chairs, a white bar, and brushed aluminum trim.
My dinner started with a Confit of Baby Octopus with Fennel, Chestnuts, Finger Lime, and Chilis. I like octopus and the confit preparation made it more tender and savory. The fennel looked like celery and added a celery crunch and licorice flavor. The chilis were lightly used but added a very nice spice to the mix. The chestnuts added a nice crunch and the finger limes with their citrus taste I thought were individual cells. It was a very good dish as could be expected from a restaurant of this caliber.My second course was also a confit. In fact, it was a confit of my favorite meat, duck, specifically, Pekin Duck. It was served with Fuyu Persimmon, Red Wine Braised Radishes, Black Beans and Sesame. The duck was good. The skin was crunchy and the meat was very tender. The persimmons were both sweet and a little spicy. The radishes added a nice crisp texture but the black beans and the sauce that were with them were ridiculous (good). While I did what I could to get everything, if I thought I could have gotten away with it, I would have licked the plate.
I was very excited for dessert. The dessert/pastry chef for Blackbird is Bryce Caron. He is a young and creative chef who combines sweet and savory into some beautiful dishes. I have a soft spot for dark chocolate (as do many people) so that is where I went. I got a Bittersweet Chocolate Creameaux with Cashews, Butternut Squash, and Bergamot (a citrus fruit that isn't as sour as lemon or bitter as grapefruit that is used for its oil). I was wondering how the butternut squash would combine with the dish. It was used as a puree that was similar in texture to the creameaux. The bergamot (oil) was used in the chocolate bird's nest presentation and the total dish was as good as I would as I would have expected.
I really liked Blackbird and am glad that I found a time when I could go even if it was just for lunch. The service was excellent as was the food. I hope I can manage one day to come for dinner.