Posts Tagged ‘Wheeling Illinois’

Farewell, Le Francais – Wheeling Il. (Chicago) (CLOSED)

Monday, March 24th, 2008

It was located at:
269 South Milwaukee Avenue, Wheeling, IL
(708) 541-7470
Very Expensive

After researching one of the most famous French restaurants in America I discovered that present owner Michael Moran closed the restaurant last summer. The telephone at the restaurant does not respond and it looks as if Le Francais, after one comeback attempt, is now gone forever.

I remember driving up to Wheeling from Chicago en route to dinner at Le Francais, when Jean Banchet was still in the kitchen. I was with my friend and business partner and his then girlfriend who was at the time getting a divorce from her present husband. She was still wearing the wedding ring from her previous marriage, quite a large solitaire diamond, and somehow in a cavalier way I convinced them to throw it away, as a sign of true love. She took it off after much hesitation, and I tossed it out the window into the cornfields. Looking back at it now, it was a damn stupid thing to do, although they were married shortly after and now have three lovely children, the oldest of them is over twenty years old.

Le Francais was an Auberge (country inn) that you would typically expect to find somewhere in the countryside of France; in this case, it was located in the suburb of Wheeling about an hour or more from Chicago. The restaurant comfortably seated 90 patrons on a combination of tables and banquettes. Copper pots and utensils decorated the walls and hung from the ceiling in true Auberge fashion.

Originally, after he took over from Banchet, and on his return with Mr. Moran, Chef Roland Liccioni strived to keep the reputation of the restaurant at the highest standards, which founder Jean Banchet maintained before his retirement many years ago.

A “duet de foie gras,” which paired seared fresh duck foie gras with a thick slice of foie gras torchon.Two preparations of foie gras served over slices of daikon radish served over a bed of diced beets and roasted macadamia nuts; An assortment of game and fowl pates and terrines made with care from traditional recipes; Maine Lobster ravioli garnished with sautéed shrimp accompanied by
a lobster sauce or Vietnamese broth; Portobella mushroom tart served with fava bean and perigueux sauce; Napoleon of Sauteed foie gras with cumin bracelets accompanied by a sauce with slices of salsify; Wild mushroom soup garnished with seafood were just a few of the dishes served in this excellent restaurant.