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- Cuisines: American, Seafood, French
Chef Shawn McClain is one of Chicago's culinary celebrities, and Spring -- his first restaurant -- attracted national attention when it opened in 2001. Located in a former Russian bathhouse, the space is now an oasis of Zen tranquillity in soothing, neutral colors. Spring is not a scene: Diners step down into a dining room hidden from the street, sink into the banquettes that zigzag across the center of the room, and concentrate on the food. Unlike other chefs who feel pressured to keep outdoing themselves, McClain sticks to a focused menu with a heavy emphasis on seafood and Pan-Asian preparations. Appetizers include an aromatic lemon-grass red-curry broth with rice noodles, and sea-scallop-and-potato ravioli with sautéed mushrooms and truffle essence. Most of the entrees are seafood-based: New Zealand snapper with lemon couscous and fennel salad, or the braised baby monkfish and escargots with roasted eggplant in smoked tomato bouillon, for example. Among the nonfish options, beef short-rib pot stickers spiced up with Korean seasonings stand out. Desserts also go the Asian route, focusing on seasonal fruits, although the coconut mochi brûlée with warm pineapple puts a whole new twist on rice pudding.
- © Frommer's 2013