Tuesday, August 19, 2014


I first met Chef Beverly Kim at the CF Grand Chef's Gala as the Chef of Aria.  I liked what they were serving, but I wouldn't say that I I could judge the restaurant until I actually went there which I did several months later.  It was then that I could say that I liked the restaurant, and by extension, Chef Kim.  Since that time, she participated in Top Chef, Season 9 (and almost won), took over Bonsoiree with her husband to turn it into a high end Korean restaurant, and has now opened a new neighborhood restaurant with a Korean twist called Parachute in Avondale where I went for dinner recently.  The restaurant is small, seating about 40 people between the long bar, the communal table at the end of the bar, and the seats at the front of the restaurant.  I sat at the bar in the back of the restaurant which looked into the prep area.  It was very cool to be able to see the ingredients before they were combined.  I was also able to watch the bartender work his magic.  The menu at Parachute isn't divided, as such, but the savory courses start with the smallest, snack like courses at the top and get larger as they go down the menu with the entree size courses at the bottom.  I started dinner with Grilled Carrots that were served cool with Italian Parsley, Crushed Almonds, and a Chermoula Sauce, which is a North African Sauce consisting of herbs, oil, lemon juice, pickled lemons, garlic, cumin, and salt.  The carrots were still crisp, though not raw crisp, and had grill marks, which added some sweetness to the carrots. The sweetness of the parsley paired with the carrots, and the herbal flavor paired with the chermoula.  The tart flavor of the chermoula added variety of the dish, and the almonds added a nice crunch to it.  It was a simple dish and a nice start to my dinner.
For the dish that served as my appetizer, I had a Boudin Noir, Nam Phrik, Peanuts, Crispy Rice, Spearmint, Endive, and Coconut Yogurt.  Boudin Noir is a typically a dark sausage that uses pig blood.  In this case, it was more like a blood flan.  Nam Phrik is a spicy fish sauce of Thai origin.  the combination of ingredients is very similar to a Vietnamese dish called Tiet Canh.  In any case, it was very good.  It was a variety of textures and flavors that would have been good without the spearmint.  With the spearmint though, the dish was a total win.
There were several things on the menu that I was interested in for my entree, I finally decided on the Slow Cooked Chicken, with Corn Off the Cob, Chanterelles, and Crunchy Furikake (a Japanese Condiment consisting of Sesame, Seaweed, Bonito, and Powdered Soy Sauce.  The presentation of this dish was pretty chaotic, it kind of looked like it had exploded, but it tasted very good.  The chicken was tender, the corn was both tender and crunchy, the mushrooms were tender and flavorful and the furikake added a variety of additional flavors.  
While I mentioned that the menu went from small to large, this was for the savory side.  There is a separate menu for desserts and after-dinner drinks.  There were three things listed for dessert as well as Bitters and Dessert Wines.  I did order an Amaro, Santa Maria al Monte to go with my dessert.  It was bitter as can be expected of Amaros, but it also had flavors of bitter orange peel, ginseng, menthol, and a medicinal finish.  While it was good, I had to be careful with my pairing to see that my dessert wasn't overwhelmed by the bitterness of the amaro.
For my dessert and to pair with the amaro, I chose the Black Sesame Tea Cake with Blueberry Sorbet, Blueberries, Brown Butter, and Lavender.  I had had the blueberry/lavender combination before in a pie for Pi(e) day (3/14) at Bleeding Heart Bakery and new that the combination was a win.  In addition to being really good together, it went well with the bittersweet tea cake, and brought out the fruit flavors in the amaro.

I really liked my dinner here, the atmosphere was very friendly, kind of eating dinner at a friends house, and the food was really good.  It was both familiar and with a world twist.  I will definitely return and recommend it to friends


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