wagyu / kohlrabi / beet / sour cream / dill pierogi

wagyu / kohlrabi / beet / sour cream / dill     pierogi

This is a dish that our chef de cuisine, David Goody, has created. Goody recently moved to Chicago from San Francisco and is bringing his own set of ideas and flavors to the table. This pierogi dish is his own way of becoming acquainted with city of Chicago. 

 

Since Chicago is a working class city with a concentration of Polish people, a pierogi seemed to fit on the menu. Even if you're not Polish and you live in Chicago, you have been to a street festival or farmers market and eaten a pierogi. It is part of the identity of Chicago, as much as a Chicago style hot dog. Being part Polish, myself, definitely helped me work though the development of this dish. Even though all of the flavors are typical in Polish cuisine, we put our touches on them. I pulled in the familiar flavors of beets, kohlrabi, dill, and sour cream because they seemed like logical pairings for a Polish dish. We have fermented the kohlrabi for more than a week, created texture on the plate by preparing the beets three ways, as well as smoking the wagyu beef in the pierogi filling. Photo by Lorenzo Tassone.

Uni - Peas / Porcini / Ramp / Chicory / Argan

This boldly flavored course had a couple of faces over the Spring of 2015. It began on the thought of balancing the bitterness of coffee together with the sweetness of peas and the salinity of uni. Porcini started popping up around the same time, and the earthy flavor and crisp texture became the bridge that connects and carries the other flavors. We also charred some local ramps and cooked them down into a compote that the uni was then set upon. As coffee was featured on another dish, I transitioned to chicory root reduction (which was used as a coffee replacement in World War 2). Peas show up in three forms: Warmed with mascarpone, freeze dried, and as tendrils drizzled with a small amount of the pungent argan oil. The uni itself, which is only available if the harvesting conditions are right, was successfully substituted out with some barely cooked first of the spring wild salmon when it was unavailable.

This boldly flavored course had a couple of faces over the Spring of 2015. It began on the thought of balancing the bitterness of coffee together with the sweetness of peas and the salinity of uni. Porcini started popping up around the same time, and the earthy flavor and crisp texture became the bridge that connects and carries the other flavors. We also charred some local ramps and cooked them down into a compote that the uni was then set upon.

As coffee was featured on another dish, I transitioned to chicory root reduction (which was used as a coffee replacement in World War 2). Peas show up in three forms: Warmed with mascarpone, freeze dried, and as tendrils drizzled with a small amount of the pungent argan oil.

The uni itself, which is only available if the harvesting conditions are right, was successfully substituted out with some barely cooked first of the spring wild salmon when it was unavailable.

Steak & Eggs on Toast

There are a few disadvantages to living above the restaurant (actually, I can't really think of any), but finding something in the refrigerator to make for a small Sunday brunch is definitely not one of them, especially when there is Wagyu beef and ossetra caviar on your current menu. On this given Sunday, I served the two of them with some soft scrambled eggs and toast for an amped up home version of steak and eggs. Once devoured, I thought about serving it downstairs in the restaurant. 

The Wagyu is sliced and wrapped around a piece of our toasted brioche, topped with a mound of the fish eggs, and finished with a couple granules of Murray River sea salt. As it is our first course, once we drop the finger food in front of the guests, I explain that their eating this luxurious bite at the beginning of their tasting menu is akin to a two pump chump having an orgasm before even starting the sex. Finally, to take some air of anticipation out of the room, we also play with them some more when we announce that this first bite will probably be the best thing they eat all night. 

Shigoku Oyster - Smoked Duck Consomme / Kimchi / Soy


This course is probably the most polarizing we've ever had on our menu. Some of our guests love it, some of them don't like it at all. But we love it, so we don't really give a shit. The rest of the people are simply wrong. 
What we're looking at is a shigoku oyster and daikon kimchi that are set in a lightly gelled smoked duck consommé. Enoki mushrooms and soy round off the preparation with a kiss of umami. Enjoy (or don't)!

This dish was conceived in the cold, dark days of winter. The thought was to take as many varieties of allium (onion family) as possible, prepare them utilizing as many methods as possible, and then in an effort to show off their versatility, serve them with as many accompaniments as I could get on the plate. The order of the progression - in which it is meant to be eaten -  is from right to left.

  • Onion flan topped with ossetra caviar
  • Boiled leeks with hamachi crudo
  • Pickled pearl onion with bottarga (grey mullet roe)
  • Scallion kimchi with sautéed shrimp
  • Compressed red onion with mojama atun (dried tuna from Spain)
  • Confit onion with chicken liver mousse and air dried duck
  • Caramelized onions with maitake mushroom leather
  • Spring onion jam with seared Wagyu beef

We also added onion rings, roasted onions, shallot powder, sprouting chives, a charred ramp, and scallion ash. To finish it off, we have a kimchi gel and each of the onion ingredients are flavored with kochukaru, the pepper that is used in traditional kimchi. We recommend eating the dish one at a time and from right to left, but since EL is here to remove pretension from fine dining, we tell the room they can eat it any fucking way they want.

Radish - Lardo / Egg / Olive

There’s been a trend since the early part of this century for chefs to have a dish on the menu that looks as though it is growing out of the ground. Having been overdue myself (and being impervious to the drawbacks of being a ‘Johnny Come Lately’), we offer up a small bite with a lot of unctuousness. 
The course is featuring a baby radish set atop some whipped lardo, 65 degree egg yolk ‘fudge’, a slice of smoked lardo, and cryo-shattered olive represents the soil. We suggest to the guests that they pick the radish up by the leaves, dip it through the egg yolk and lardo, and then scoop up as much as they can into their mouths.

Squid - Beet / Caper / Pear / Nasturtium / Saffron

Inspiration for this squid course comes from Christian Puglisi's, Relae cookbook. The squid is shaved to resemble noodles and then barely warmed in a sauce of extra virgin olive oil, garlic, smoked paprika, and ground capers.

Yellow beets are pickled in a saffron brine (to which squid ink is emulsified in for the sauce), and then we’re finished off with a pear pudding and nasturtium leaves.