Located in the heart of Boystown in Chicago’s lively Lakeview East, Wood restaurant (3335 N. Halsted St.) announces the hiring of Executive Chef Ryan Brosseau. Brosseau has refreshed the dinner and brunch menus of the 7-year-old contemporary American restaurant, offering accessibly inventive share plates that highlight high-quality seasonal ingredients from local farms. Since joining Wood in mid-August, he has showcased his passion for preservation and pickling, whole-animal butchery, and bread baking. Brousseau, who most recently helmed Le Sud, also brought with him to Wood a hand-picked culinary team, including Sous Chef Jeff Danaher (Le Sud, Table, Donkey & Stick) and Pastry Chef Sinead Wainwright (Swift & Sons).
“My food philosophy is founded in evoking sense memories, those aromas and flavors that remind you of something familiar, even if it’s your first time experiencing them a certain way,” Brosseau says. “Keeping that in mind, we’re constantly creating at Wood to focus on the superior quality produce and meats we bring in from the many great farmers and vendors in the Chicago area. The menu changes often to feature the kinds of dishes you crave from a neighborhood restaurant, served with finesse but not fussiness.”
As products come in and out of season, Brosseau manages Wood’s frequently rotating menu to feature both smaller and larger plates intended for splitting and sharing. Current dishes include: Duck Liver Mousse with pickled blueberries, roasted peanuts, and oregano, served with housemade baguette ($10); Roasted Brussels Sprouts with pickled turnip, red chile, smoked mackerel mayo, malt vinegar, and dill ($12); Octopus with fingerling potato, charred escarole, Meyer lemon purée, brown butter powder, and tarragon ($16); Pork Shoulder with parsnip purée, sage beurre blanc, and black garlic ($16); Whole Wheat Cavatelli made in-house and served with hedgehog mushroom, spinach-mushroom velouté, Pecorino Romano, and mint ($18); and Salmon à l’Unilateral with brûléed shallot, turmeric-carrot confit, pepita tarka, lime, and cilantro ($27).
Desserts ($8) include Bavarian Torte, génoise cake, honey bavarois, Earl Grey whipped cream, and Meyer lemon; a white and dark chocolate-studded Brown Sugar Blondie with salted caramel, vanilla, and walnut; and Chevre Cheesecake with an espresso graham cracker crust, topped with toffee crumble, espresso whipped cream, and hot fudge; as well as a rotating seasonal selection of ice cream and sorbet ($5), such as Buttermilk Ice Cream, Milk Chocolate Ice Cream, and Honey Pear Sorbet.
The weekend brunch menu keeps its notoriously cheeky name (“Morning Wood”), but receives an all-new makeover with items such as Cinnamon Bun with caramel and royal icing ($4); Smoked Salmon Toast with pickled turnip, watercress, and radish on sourdough ($12); Corned Beef Hash with sweet potato, onion, and sunny side-up egg ($15); and Shrimp Skillet with ham, bell peppers, tomato, and sunny side-up egg ($16).
The Wood kitchen team has started a house bread program, which includes the baguette served with the duck liver mousse and cheese board; expect to see sourdough, pull-apart bread, croissants, and more in the coming weeks. Brosseau also plans to roll out a new charcuterie and cheese program, as well as introduce a happy hour menu, both before the end of the month.