Slideshow: First Look: Paul Virant's New Menu at J. Parker

Sweet Potato Beignet ($9)
Sweet Potato Beignet ($9)
The new menu was developed with Chicago's upcoming cold weather in mind, so these beignets were given a hearty fall twist. Thanks to the use of sweet potatoes, the fried balls are more filling and also a little sweeter. That sweetness is accentuated by a gastrique (made from Burton's maple syrup and sherry) and crunchy candied pumpkin seeds.
Beet Pickled Deviled Egg ($4)
Beet Pickled Deviled Egg ($4)
Deviled eggs are popping up on menus all across town, but I've yet to encounter one that is quite like this. As you can tell, these deviled eggs are very pink. Luckily, they were naturally colored when they were pickled with beets.
The JParker Burger ($13)
The JParker Burger ($13)
This extra beefy burger is draped with Nordic Creamery smoked cheddar and served on a very soft bun. It comes with a side of spicy carrot ketchup and pickled green beans.
Caesar Salad ($11)
Caesar Salad ($11)
J. Parker's version of the Caesar salad features charred romaine as the base, but that's not the only twist. Instead of anchovies, local smelts are used to make the creamy dressing. It's then topped with a very soft poached egg.
Seared Scallops ($13)
Seared Scallops ($13)
This dish feels the most like one you'd encounter downstairs at Perennial Virant. The well seared scallops arrive on a bed of arugula with a tart lemon butter sauce drizzled on top. They also come with some green olives, which initially look completely out of place. But instead of brazen and briny, the olives are very mild and end up lending a pleasing bitterness to balance out the butter.
Gunthorp Farm Rabbit Rillete ($12)
Gunthorp Farm Rabbit Rillete ($12)
Instead of a dollop of mustard, the creamy and fatty rabbit rillete is served with a very tart and acidic pickled ramp relish. This is one of those unmistakable twists that I've come to expect from Virant. The dish also comes with crunchy slices of semolina crostini.
Gingerbread, Buttered Rum Apples ($5)
Gingerbread, Buttered Rum Apples ($5)
Unlike a gingerbread cookie, this bread is soft and not nearly as bitter as you'd expect from the dark color. It is topped with buttered rum apples.