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Hot List 2008

Aigre Doux, Chicago, Illinois

Address: 230 W Kinzie Street

Tel: 312-329-9400

This lovely restaurant, run by the husband-and-wife team Mohammad Islam and Malika Ameen, has it all: intelligent food, friendly service, a well-chosen wine list. The restrained, elegant decor harks back to the 1930s with slatted walls of cherrywood curving above the woven leather banquettes, all the way up to the double-height ceiling. The kitchen skillfully balances flavors and textures (aigre doux means "sweet sour") in dishes such as thin-crust pizza topped with rabbit, figs, crispy bacon chunks, pickled fennel, and goat cheese; hamachi sashimi with avocado and a brýlée of tart yuzu; and glazed duck breast with bok choy, -almond-laced quinoa, and cherry compote. Ameen is the pastry chef, and her fine desserts include (not too) sweet sticky toffee pudding with Devonshire cream sorbet, and chocolate malted with hazelnut "Kit-Kat" (entrées, $15–$38).

Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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