Parachute in Chicago

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Baked potato bread, bacon, with sour cream butter

Sometimes the most simple dishes are the ones that are the most delicious.  Elise and I went to Parachute a few days before Christmas as one of her recommendations to try some good Korean food in the city.

We arrived at 5pm at the time of the restaurant opening since I was worried about the wait time.  The restaurant was already buzzing with diners and most of the tables were filled but we were seated at the communal table near the bar.

Our waitress went over some recommendations for two people:  3 starters and a main dish but you can always scale up or down depending on your tastes.

Elise asked what I wanted for dinner and told her I had my eye on the pork belly and mung bean pancake. She asked if I wanted some starters and the baked potato bread looked appetizing since who can ignore potatoes on a chilly December evening?

I looked over the wine menu but Elise was not in the mood to drink and I certainly couldn't finish a bottle by myself so I opted for some ginger beer after some coaxing from our waitress.

Crispy Sesame Leaves and House Pickles, Kimchi with shrimp, chilli chayote and watermelon radish zuke

We ordered the baked potato, bacon and scallion bread with sour cream butter along with the crispy sesame leaves with soy sauce and the kimchi with shrimp and watermelon radishes, chili chayote and house pickles to start.

Our waitress checked if we had any food allergies and unfortunately, my body can no longer tolerate shellfish so I had to disclose that to her.  She explained that the kimchi had shrimp in it so she told me to avoid one part of the dish but I could definitely eat the radishes.

She tried to coax me out of the entrees which was the pork belly and pancakes since it had a little bit of shrimp on it but I said I could skip the pancakes and just dive into the pork belly.

Pork Belly and Mung Bean Pancake, Hen Egg, Pineapple and Kimchi

The first starter to come out from the kitchen was the watermelon radishes and house pickles with kimchi.  Next came the crispy sesame leaves with soy sauce then the baked potato bread with sour cream butter.

The watermelon radishes were flavorful but the most memorable starter dish had to be the simple crispy, sesame leaves.  At first, I was using my chopsticks but I followed Elise's lead and just started using my fingers to dip them into the soy sauce.

I couldn't believe that it just melted in my mouth!  I wondered what kind of batter they used to deep fry them.  Was it tempura?  Unfortunately, I didn't ask our waitress.

Caramelized Cauliflower Mandu with Tamarind Pear Chutney and Nasturtium 
The first entree to come out of the kitchen was the caramelized cauliflower with tamarind pear chutney with the nasturtium draped on top.

The next dish was the pork belly with the pancake with hen egg and pineapple.  I had to admit that the hen egg and pineapple was an interesting concept.  I heard of pineapple going well with pork so the hen egg was definitely a nice twist to it.

The final dish that came out was the hand torn noodle with lamb cumin and I had to say the cumin was overpowering the dish. It must have to do with it being Sichuan style.  I loved that the noodles were tender and the lamb cumin gave it kick but even for my palate, the spiciness was a little to much.  The lamb dish is definitely my favorite dish for the night and I would come back for their ever revolving menu.

Hand torn noodle, spicy lamb sofrito, cumin and sichuan peppercorn
Parachute opened about six months ago in the Avondale neighborhood of Chicago.  I'd love to come back in six months after their one year anniversary and see what their spring / summer menu holds.

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