Since opening just two years ago, Le Sud has become a firm neighborhood favorite for people who live in the Roscoe Village area and has developed a reputation as one of the best and most approachable French restaurants in Chicago. I had the pleasure of visiting just after the opening and wrote about it in “Le Sud Brings a Touch of Provence to Roscoe Village.”
Le Sud invited Your Chicago Guide to return for a sample of the summer menu created by new executive chef, Michael Woodhall.
With the elevation of Woodhall, Le Sud has expanded to embrace a more inclusive Mediterranean focus. The excellent Provençal-style that has marked the restaurant since it opened still remains, but now the cuisine includes a strong focus on the ingredients, flavors and cooking styles of the Basque region of Spain.
Woodhall has been a part of the team at Le Sud since the opening in 2018, moving up the ranks from line cook, to sous chef, to executive chef. He has an impressive culinary pedigree including time as chef de partie at Perennial Restaurant in Lincoln Park. His culinary journey led him to Hogsalt Hospitality in 2011, where he became chef de partie at Gilt Bar, followed by executive chef of Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf.
The new menu at Le Sud continues the restaurant’s impressive presentation of Mediterranean flavors. On my recent visit, I had the chance to focus on several of the new menu items. For starters, my guest and I sampled the Fava Beans with Crème Fraîche and Grilled Shrimp with Piparra Pepper.
The fava bean starter is served cold with sweet peas, Meyer lemon, and mint – a refreshing appetizer for a warm summer evening. The flavors are delicate and well-balanced. The shrimp is served with a sauce of sherry, garlic and lemon with a slice of grilled baguette. The hint of nuttiness from the sherry was subtle but brought a distinctive flair to this simple preparation. The small piparra peppers are not tremendously hot and are served almost like a garnish. If you are a fan of a bit of heat, then take a small bite of the pepper with a bite of the shrimp.
Other new appetizer options include baby kale and manchego salad, braised Spanish octopus, smoked ham and cheese croquette, and fried polenta cake.
Woodhall has added a number of excellent new entrées including grilled Bavette steak “Txuleton,” roasted Basque half chicken, salmon a la Riberena, wood grilled tri-blend burger, and chitarra pasta. My guest and I settled on two others – Mediterranean Braised Veal Cheeks (white wine, carrots, peas, parsley) and Atlantic Cod in Green Sauce (Manilla clams, white wine, garlic, parsley).
The veal cheek preparation is a classic comfort food stew. The braised veal was fork tender, served in a densely flavorful sauce. The carrots were still slightly firm, but lightly caramelized to lend a hint of sweetness. On the opposite scale, the cod was incredibly light but also a satisfying entrée. The green parsley sauce provided a strong flavor, but did not overpower the delicate cod. The addition of the clams was a brilliant option – a unique flavor and texture to round out the dish.
If you have any room for dessert, try the Peaches & Sabayon. The peaches are ripe and warm, served in a crème de pêche vigne. I love peaches, and this was a perfect ending to a beautiful meal. In upcoming months, however, they plan to roll out what looks to be another spectacular dessert – Baked Gala Apple wrapped in puff pastry with cinnamon, vanilla ice cream, and amaretto syrup. I may stop back in just to sample this!
Le Sud has a small but fantastic wine list. As with the new menu, the former list (primarily French) has expanded to include more Spanish varietals and blends. The expanded wine program’s 13 glass pours highlight blanc, rosé, rouge and sparkling selections. Thirty wines by the bottle are also sourced from Mediterranean region and they have a lovely reserve wine list featuring 18 selections.
Alfresco dining is offered on the spacious sidewalk cafe, along with open-air indoor seating in the main dining room. Le Sud also has a happy hour menu available Wednesday through Saturday from 5-6 p.m., featuring $3 craft brews, $6 glasses of wine and cocktails, and select small plates ($5-$6).
Le Sud (2301 West Roscoe Street) is now open for dinner service Wednesday – Saturday, 5-10 p.m.; Sunday 4-9 p.m. and closed Monday – Tuesday. Ample street parking is available, much of it free (a huge bonus in Chicago). For more information or reservations, visit the Le Sud website or call (773) 857-1985.