For most Chicago chefs, “fresh from the sea” means an overnight FedEx package from a coastal fisherman. For chef Shin Thompson of Bonsoirée Cafe and Delicacies, it means the fish is still flopping.
At age 13 while visiting Japan, Thompson was whisked away with his uncle to a mountain restaurant for dinner in a traditional tatami room: “The chef came out with this huge fish,” Thompson says. “It was still moving, and he butchered it, cubing the meat, but leaving it on the body.”
Halfway through the feast, Thompson realized the fish’s body was still moving. Thompson knew then he would become a chef adamantly committed to fresh cooking. With partner Kurt Chenier, Thompson delivers exquisitely crafted food at value prices: three courses for $24.
Q. What do you wish you could change/pickle about the Chicago restaurant/food scene?
A. I’ve noticed a huge market: wine lovers who are genuinely excited to pair their own wines with our food….[So] we have no intention of obtaining a liquor license.
Q. What would your last meal be?
A. Nothing beats sweet diver sea scallops in the shell and fresh lobster tail with melted butter.
Q. What Chicago chef would you be most willing to share a kitchen with?
A. A Moroccan chef … Anthony Khattabi. He serves incredible, never-before-experienced flavor combinations with contemporary upscale presentations.
Q. What’s the can’t-miss dish at Bonsoirée?
A. Pan-roasted barramundi with pink peppercorn butter, grilled asparagus risotto cake and summer plum chutney.
Q. What should we know about Bonsoirée we probably don’t?
A. Dinner started as a side gig in our [catering] storefront. Recently, word has gotten out, and our dinner business has been so busy we’ve had to turn … people away.
Bonsoirée; 2728 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago (773) 486-7511