Simply put, Haché Moderne Brasserie is a place that you want to be.
Haché, which opened last year, is nestled on the corner of State and 6th streets in downtown Geneva in the space formerly occupied by Urban Grille.
The French-influenced, farm-to-table, fine-dining establishment exudes Parisian and French country charm. Candlelight, ornate chandeliers and urban lighting add a bit of romance to the space, while earthy tones and rustic elements are met with paisley-prints, azure accents and a splash of eclectic vintage charm.
The space is intimate, informal and inviting. A small outdoor patio flanks the front entrance and the foyer – decorated with hanging lanterns, ivy-laden walls and wooden benches – and serves as a portal to what will undoubtedly end up being a fabulous culinary experience.
From Buffalo Frog Legs and Chicken Liver Pate to Seared Chicken Roulade and Cassoulet, executive head chef Andrew Hoelscher gives traditional French favorites a modern twist.
The Batavia native’s kitchen credentials include the 4-Diamond-rated Herrington Inn and Spa in Geneva, the River North gastropub English, and the Nuevo Latino restaurant Coobah.
Hoelscher employs the farm-to-table dining concept by using locally sourced vegetables from Heritage Prairie and Rustic Road farms in Elburn, as well as Windy Acres Farm in Geneva.
The restaurant’s selection of wine is displayed in a glass-encased wine cellar that flanks a swanky bar. Specialty cocktails, such as the Sexy Farmer Bloody Mary, the Geneva Mule and the Pomm Pomm, all use Herrington Premium Vodka by Geneva-based Fox River Distilling Company.
My dining companion and I visited Haché – as first-time visitors to the restaurant – on a Wednesday evening.
Haché has a nice wine menu, with multiple varietals by the glass and bottle. I was offered a sample of the popular Blue Rock Baby Blue Bordeaux Blend from Napa Valley, before settling on the fuller-bodied Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon, also from Napa. My dining companion ordered a glass of the Angeline pinot noir.
Upon hearing the list of specials, we decided to order the Seared Scallops special as an appetizer, which the chef was nice enough to split in half for us.
The delicately plated Seared Scallops came served on a bed of peas with ramps (wild onions), asparagus, lardons in sweet pea ragout with tomatoes and a lobster bisque drizzle.
I was completely wowed by this dish.
The scallops were seared to a perfect golden-brown and melted in my mouth. Haché’s menu also features seared scallops with curried cauliflower, smoked mandarin, coconut vinaigrette and pomegranate coulis.
The scallops were my favorite dish during the meal, but my dining companion loved the Michigan Lamb. After a few bites, she declared to our waiter that it was the best lamb that she had ever tasted.
Cooked to perfection, the lamb came with a tandoori-spiked demi glaze with spicy yogurt over herbed polenta and root vegetables.
We also ordered a side dish of the Maple Carrots with smoked salt, citrus and aged maple. Other side dishes include Pomme Frites with white truffle aioli and Roasted Brussel Sprouts with lardons, Parmesan, garlic and honey, to name a couple.
Haché is a lovely addition to Geneva’s dining scene, and – if you haven’t tried it already – it’s time to pay the restaurant a visit. Whether you’re looking for a special spot to catch up with friends or dine with a date, Haché is where you want to be.
• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at the Kane County Chronicle. The diner’s identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits a different restaurant about twice a month and then reports on the experience. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a review.
If you go
What: Haché Modern Brasserie
Where: 524 W. State St., Suite 3, Geneva
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. – with brunch served from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. – Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. – with brunch served from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. – Sunday
More info: hachegeneva.com or 630-402-0288