Roland Liccioni starts serving dinner at Les Nomades tonight, but another French chef blast from the past is already working in an unassuming spot on Damen just south of Irving Park. The former Xippo is now called Revolver, which sounds a lot more like a bar on Milwaukee than it does the latest haunt of a classically-trained French chef who once had a name-brand reputation but has spent most of the last decade jumping around without landing anywhere for too long.
Eric Aubriot trained under Michelin three-star chefs Michel Guerard and Alain Ducasse before coming to Chicago to work at Gypsy and Carlos (where he worked under Liccioni). He opened Aubriot in 2000 to critical acclaim, but something less than financial success, at a time when classic French cooking had fallen out of favor and more casual Italian cooking was all the rage. Since then, he’s been everywhere from Evanston’s Orrington Hotel to Lure Izakaya in Chinatown to the middle-east-on-acid Alhambra, and none have seemed to last.
But if Revolver seems an odd spot to find him in, it’s worth remembering that he’s worked in the North Center/Lincoln Square area before, at the excellent neighborhood bistro Tournesol in the early 2000s (the space is now Chalkboard). If Revolver proves to be a second coming of Tournesol, that would be very good news for the neighborhood and hopefully, for Aubriot getting a chance to show his true talents again.