La cuisine, c’est quand les choses ont le goût de ce qu’elles sont.
Good cooking is when things taste of what they are.


For the longest time, Vie felt out of my reach, both distance-wise (its location in the far southwest suburbs) and price-wise (entrees top out at $32). Seeing as it was Chicago Chef Week, meaning 30 bucks for a three-course dinner, and a day off from work, it seemed like the perfect time to try this much-heralded restaurant.

Chef Paul Virant has worked in some of Chicago’s most well-respected kitchens, including Blackbird, Everest and Charlie Trotter’s. With such a pedigree, I was curious as to why he decided to open a restaurant out so far from the city and the Chicago dining scene.

la quercia prosciutto, marinated scarlet turnips, caramel apple jam, werp farm arugula, spanish olive oil

gunthorp farm chicken breast milanese, ted’s organic polenta, fried tuscan kale, garlic and herb vinaigrette

hamachi crudo

warm gooey butter cake, tahitian vanilla ice cream, brittled peanuts, chocolate sauce

This was some of the most thoughtful, well-balanced, and delicious food I’ve had a long time. Ingredients complemented each other, no flavor strongly overpowered others; there’s the sense that the Chef Virant has taken the time to refine each one of these dishes. At the same time, there’s a refreshing absence of pretention or fussiness, which can often mar the enjoyment of even the most delicious meals.

I now understand Vie’s location. In Western Springs, things are more relaxed, less chaotic, and less rushed than in Chicago. Vie does not feel like an escape from its surroundings. It feels organic, as if it’s always been there. And as terrific as the food was (and really, it was fantastic), the feeling of contentedness that enveloped me throughout the evening was worth the price of the meal.

To have such an establishment in one’s backyard surely spoils you, and it is for this reason I am glad Vie is not within easy driving distance. It makes dining here feel a special event, which is exactly what it should be.

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