Chicken Paillard courtesy Anjali Pinto Photography
They've proven they can emerge from their father's long shadow in Chicago, having established Hub 51 as a successful River North restaurant. Now RJ and Jerrod Melman are poised to open their second act tonight: Paris Club. They didn't have to go too far to do it either - the restaurant is located right next door, in the former Brasserie Jo space.
LIke any buzz-worthy restaurant these days - a la Grahamwich and Next - there are already breathless (albeit typo-riddled) "previews" online, touting specific items that have only been served at preview/media dinners (and hence, comped), but unlike most new openings, this one has the benefit of a few experienced toques back on the line. No less than four chefs have a hand in the menu here, and each one brings a unique perspective: Jean Joho has remained a part of the team, chucking his Alsatian favorites from the Brasserie, but bringing his 25-plus years of experience serving Chicago diners at Everest. Former Tru chef Tim Graham takes over Executive Chef duties, while Doug Psaltis (from New York City's Country) and Walter Manzke (from L.A.'s Church & State) are also on board.
Bubbly will allegedly be on tap and the Melmans are expected to keep DJs in the dining room (they've obviously figured out how to run a successful club below Hub at Sub 51). It will be interesting to see if this latest project becomes our city's version of Balthazar or Pastis - both of which have proven successful in New York City, and have almost single-handedly made escargot and croque monsieurs sexy again.
Escargot Bourguignonne courtesy Anjali Pinto Photography