Bon Vivant (restaurant)
Submitted by liz on Wed, 2014-11-12 11:42
Note: The Newberry Library holds the personal papers of author John Drury.
And What Lobsters!
Henri's lobster dinner has become an institution on the south side — and should, by rights, be an institution for the whole town. It would be if M. Henri Delaloye would do a little more advertising and try to get people to come here from other sections of the city than just Hyde Park, Woodlawn and the University of Chicago district. For over ten years now the Four Hundred of Hyde Park society — wealthy residents of the old mansions, hotels, co-ops, apartment houses and apartment hotels of Hyde Park Boulevard and the "Hotel Coast" east of the Illinois Central tracks — have been coming to this humble little red-brick house among the stately old residences of Lake Park Avenue and partaking of lobsters and oysters and other French delicacies that are hard to duplicate anywhere in town.
But maybe if Henri advertised more widely he would be spoiling a good thing. Anyway, we think he'll pardon us if we mention his restaurant in this book; after all, we're supposed to hunt out places like this and tell the world about them. The lobsters, coming twice a week from Maine and Boston, are served with an eight-course dinner, and you may have your choice of three roasts — squab, steak with mushrooms or roast duckling. Henri himself presides over the kitchen and the perfection of his lobsters are the result of experiences as a cook in his native Switzerland, several noted cafes in Paris, the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York and the Sherman and Blackstone Hotels in Chicago.
Equally delicious are his oysters, which he serves during the traditional "R" months. He has invented a special butter which permeates the oysters during the cooking process and which makes them the talk of the town. Gene Morgan, conductor of "Hit or Miss" column in the Chicago Daily News, has paid tribute to these bivalves in a recent poem.
Oysters A La Bon Vivant
The "R" months all are star months
At the Bon Vivant's rich board,
For then we feast on oysters
Which but gods could once afford.
Reclining in a roomy shell
And warmly dressed in red —
Alas for Mr. Oyster! He
Must leave this kingly bed.
Bon Vivants dine at Bon Vivant.
Its fame has travelled far,
And when I dine there I'm content
With all the things that "R".
When the oysters are out of season, Henri brings out his soft shell crabs — and you would have to travel far to feast on crabs like these. There is, too, Henri's special French dressing for his salads — something to rhapsodize over. You will like the Bon Vivant because the specialties are so marvelous, the service so individual and considerate, and the atmosphere so much like one of those little cafes in a Paris by-way — which, if you have ever been to Paris, you know are a real delight.
The Bon Vivant French
4367 Lake Park Avenue
Open from 6 P. M. to 9 P. M.
Table d'hote only. Dinner, $1.50. Lobster dinner, $1.75.
Maitre d'hotel: Henri Delaloye