Perennial Virant releases menu preview
Though Eater's "Plywood Report" still shows a fair amount of, well, plywood, Boka Restaurant Group's Perennial Virant is gearing up to open next month. It's fitting timing that chef-partner Paul Virant—who has demonstrated remarkable commitment to using and preserving local produce at his restaurant, Vie, in Western Springs—would make his return to the city just as asparagus, rhubarb and the other signs of Chicago's always-feels-like-it's-never-actually-gonna-happen spring make their way into Green City Market (which moves outside May 4) just across the street from the new restaurant.
As they have for their previous two projects—the instantly popular GT Fish & Oyster and the unstoppably popular Girl & the Goat—the Boka group has launched a blog to document the progress of the opening. The group has also released the "working menu" for Perennial Virant, which is divided into two options: a $35 three-course prix fixe and an à la carte selection of "plates to share" ($5–27). The menu is a litany of local farms, from the produce (Bare Knuckle Farm ramps, Growing Home spinach, Werp Farm lettuces) to the meats (Slagel Family Farm pork, Gunthorp Farm chicken, La Quercia prosciutto, Dietzler Farm beef ribs) to the cheeses (Brunknow cheese curds, Prairie Fruits Farm "Little Bloom on the Prairie").
Virant's ingredients-first approach is reflected in dishes like cream of Klug Farm asparagus soup with preserved Meyer lemon and brown butter; grilled Two River's smelt crostini with sorrel mayonnaise and pickled ramps; peas, pea shoots and spring onions in a warm bacon vinaigrette with Manley's feta; pan-roasted walleye pike with lemon aioli, melted green garlic and smashed potatoes; and crispy Parisienne gnocchi with morels and parmigiano-reggiano. Check out the whole menu as a PDF on the Perennial Virant website.