Situated west of Michigan Avenue, The Paris Club is a comfortable retreat from the overbearing crowds. Its moody ambiance and straightforward cuisine are worth a visit for drinks and dessert, especially if you’re in need of a mix-up from the typical college town restaurant. The interior of The Paris Club features a bar and a small lounge amidst a décor that is dim, minimalistic and chic, without being cold. The music matches the interior design, with an electric mixture of smooth bass, breathy singing and a catchy, yet serene beat. Imagine Ellie Goulding meets Norah Jones.
With the exception of an overly lengthy monologue on the specials of the day, the service was quick and smooth during our visit. We ordered the pretzel croissants ($4.95), short rib ravioli ($15.95), and roasted half chicken ($20.95), which was recommended by the waitress.
The pretzel croissants came quickly, just 2 minutes after they were ordered, accompanied with whipped European butter and two different mustards. Although the croissants themselves were flaky and buttery, the mustards were nearly indistinguishable in taste, and the butter added an unneeded greasiness. Aside from a slight sprinkling of course salt, it was also impossible to tell how these “pretzel croissants” differed from regular croissants.
Our entrées arrived promptly. The chicken was tender, well-seasoned and simple. However, it was almost too simple; accompanied by a few croutons, a small bunch of green beans and a sprinkling of greens and tomatoes, it hardly justified the $20.95 price tag. The ravioli was tasty as well, but also not anything surprising. The filling was creamy and savory, but “too homogenous,” for it was difficult to tell what was meat and what was cheese.
Perhaps the best part of the meal was dessert: a Meyer lemon tart and the special of the day, salted caramel profiteroles. The lemon tart was surprisingly refreshing. It wasn’t your typical overly sweetened lemon curd inside a hard shortbread crust. The curd was custard-like and had a perfect balance of tart and sweet. The crust was buttery and moist. The profiteroles were crispy on the outside and soft and warm on the inside, which was a nice textural compliment to the salted caramel gelato. With three profiteroles and three scoops of ice cream, $8 seemed a reasonable price. Thanks to the dessert, the meal ended on a good note.
Overall, The Paris Club makes authentic, unpretentious French food with quality ingredients. However, its dishes lack the flare and excitement that is almost expected of a pricey, trendy restaurant. Although not necessarily suitable for a college budget, The Paris Club is still a stylish and tasteful place to grab a drink and dessert if you’re out with your friends.
Address: 59 W Hubbard, Chicago, IL 60654
Hours of Operation: Mon–Tues: 4 pm to 10 pm, Wed: 4 pm to 12 am, Thu-Fri: 4 pm to 2 am, Sat: 4 pm to 3 am, Sun: 10 am to 10 pm