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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Wednesday, September 27

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Restaurant Fri Dec 14 2007

Connoisseur Wine Co.


I attended the opening of Connoisseur Wine Co. last week. Gerald Lott and Frankie Versean Cox have created an intimate space (seats only 50) for patrons to enjoy wine, champagne and a small plate menu designed by Chef Philipp Vitti, formerly of TRU

Those interested in getting a first-hand look at this new establishment should check out the offer posted on Chicagoist for this weekend.

Connoisseur is located at 1041 W. Grand, a wise choice just off the blue line. The unassuming building was flanked by a doorman who welcomed me out of the cold into their cozy space where I met several courteous individuals involved in the project. Juliana Angel, the Wine Program Director, brought me the Alfredo Roca Pinot Noir, Medoza 2005 ($10/35), the Morgadio Rias Baixas, Albariono 2006 ($12/40) and the Bollinger Special Cuvee ($120).

Samples of their menu offerings were also available. Of note were the Crawfish Rolls: Spicy sushi rolls with ginger and plum sauce ($12), Lobster and Chile Ceviche: Lobster ceviche with grapefruit, hearts of palm, cilantro and key lime ($16), Grilled Asparagus: Marinated, grilled asparagus with toasted walnut and gorgonzola ($11) and truly luscious Sweet Potato Soup ($8). Dan Deaton, the Executive Chef, would like the menu to push his guests to try something new, while still making them feel comfortable.

Connoisseur is a nice addition to the higher end market, providing a refined environment for conversation, a small meal and a glass of wine from their thoughtful selection. Connoisseur felt refreshingly unpretentious to me, but I do wonder if the type of patron who frequents such an establishment might desire more glitz from their surroundings. A few small changes could give the space a more upscale feeling and I believe that Connoisseur will have to make them in order to compete in the luxury market.

1041 W. Grand Ave.
Hours: Tues.-Fri. 5pm-2am, Sat. 2pm-3am and Sun. 2pm-2am

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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