Having lived in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago for a while now, I often walked by the cute and homey French bistro on the corner of Halsted Street and Dickens Avenue. It was not until recently, however, that I visited Chez Moi, and I quickly learned that I had been missing out.
Immediately upon entering Chez Moi, I felt as if I were entering someone’s home. After meeting Chef Dominique Tougne and his wife, India, learning about the restaurant, and dining there, I can see why, as that is exactly the feeling that they want to impart. After all, “Chez Moi” is French for “my home.”
Chef Tougne, originally of Alcase, France, opened Chez Moi in 2012, after years of cooking for other chefs in other restaurants, including Bistro 100 for fifteen years. He wished to have his own restaurant so, with the help of former Blackhawks player Cristobal Huet, created Chez Moi, a unique french bistro in the heart of Lincoln Park. Chef Tougne and his lovely wife India now run the restaurant. Chef Tougne is lively, gregarious, friendly, and loves to tell stories. He is also extremely accommodating of all diners’ food allergies and intolerances and dietary restrictions, as he has children with food allergies.
The dining room is warm and inviting, with dark woods and beautiful chandeliers. The decor inspires a rustic elegance that translates through the food, as well. Chez Moi even features a high table in the corner of the restaurant which was made especially for French NBA player Tony Parker so that his height could be accommodated while dining in the restaurant.
The menu at Chez Moi changes with the seasons, and I recently attended a sneak preview of the new Fall Menu, evocative of a culinary harvest through France, complete with wine pairings. We began with an incredible pumpkin soup, which was paired with Crémant de Bourgogne, a sparkling Chardonnay from Bourgogne, France. The soup featured a wonderful depth of flavor, and offered fresh, pumpkin flavors. It was just rich enough without being heavy or creamy. If anything says “Fall,” it is this soup.
We then enjoyed the croustillant de champignons, or mushroom cigar, paired with the Château Brulescailles, a wonderful red wine from Bordeaux. Chez Moi’s menu recommends wine pairings, which takes the guess work out of ordering wine for those not too familiar with French wines, like me. It was a perfect pairing. I absolutely loved the sauteed wild mushrooms, with parsley, garlic, shallots, and mascarpone cheese, rolled nicely inside perfectly cooked phylo dough. It was vegetarian and delicious.
I finished my meal with the trout, pan seared and served with roasted leeks, redskin potatoes, and a tasty beurre blanc sauce. The flavors were wonderful and the fish was perfectly cooked, with the skin crispy and the flesh flaky and moist. This dish was paired with Domaine Charles Baur, a Pinot Gris from Alsace, France, and it worked harmoniously.
After my meal, I toured the rest of Chez Moi, which includes a large party room in the rear of the restaurant. In that room is a separate bar and dining tables, and the walls are adorned with chef coats signed by culinary giants such as Joël Robuchon and Jacques Sénéchal, with whom Chef Tougne trained, as well as Paul Bocuse.
I absolutely loved everything about Chez Moi and cannot wait to return for more delicious French cuisine. Chez Moi is extremely popular with families and young children, and boasts a wonderful kid’s menu. It is also a perfect spot for a date night, or a weekend brunch. Chez Moi is open seven days a week, with dinner service daily and brunch on Saturday and Sunday. A three course prix fixe menu is offered for $29 everyday from 5:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.
For fabulous French food, in a relaxed and homey setting, be sure to check out this neighborhood gem.
2100 North Halsted Street, Chicago, Illinois 60614
While my meal was complimentary, all opinions expressed herein are my own.