Chicago, Restaurant Week

Chicago Restaurant Week 2017: Dinner at Table, Donkey & Stick

This is part of a series of posts about Chicago Restaurant Week 2017, held January 27–February 9. View all of this year’s meal recaps, or browse all Restaurant Week coverage from 2013-17.

Glazed duck breast, Table, Donkey & Stick

Glazed duck breast with butternut squash, buttered cabbage, Louisiana popcorn rice, and maple & fenugreek glaze

Best Bite: Table, Donkey & Stick specializes in alpine cuisine, which seems especially appropriate for winter. The main course was a beautifully cooked duck breast in a bowl full of comforting accompaniments: buttered cabbage, squash, and nutty rice. And how pretty is that ring of sticky-sweet glaze?

Lentils and latkes, Table, Donkey & Stick

French green lentils with smoked mushroom and roasted kale; Yukon Gold potato latkes with roasted garlic aioli

Other notes: The green lentils were on point in both seasoning and texture, with major umami from the smoked mushrooms, and the decision to present the latkes as wedges to be dunked in aioli was a seriously genius one. I also swooned over the silky duck liver mousse with chili powder and sweet preserves, spread onto piping-hot baguette for the ultimate appetizer bite. I was very impressed by the whole experience, including attentive service throughout the meal. I’m a little ashamed that it took me so long to visit a restaurant of this caliber in my own neighborhood, but I’ll just chalk it up as another Restaurant Week success story.

Duck liver mousse and gouda, Table, Donkey & Stick

Duck liver mousse with preserves, chili powder, and oregano; Boerenkaas gouda with honey, walnuts, and sourdough rye baguette

The details: Table, Donkey & Stick, 2728 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago.

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Best Bites, Chicago

2014 Best Bite #13: Potato pancakes, Bohemian House

For the third year in a row, I’m using each day in December to celebrate the rest of the best bites (and sips) that I didn’t get to blog about in 2014, posted in chronological order. Browse all of this year’s Best Bites, or look back at year-end Best Bites from 2012 and 2013.

Potato pancakes, Bohemian House

Potato pancakes with cured salmon, apple preserves, kohlrabi, and dill

Why it’s another 2014 Best Bite: These miniature potato pancakes were a bright, balanced way to start dinner at this eclectic River North newcomer. The crunchy kohlrabi mimicked the texture of apple – which instead appeared in the form of sweet preserves – and both flavors fit beautifully with the salmon and dill.

The details: Bohemian House, 11 W. Illinois St., Chicago.

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Travel Eats

Travel Eats: Best savory bites from 4 days in NYC

Travel Eats documents my food adventures outside of Chicago.

Everything bagel with pastrami-cured salmon and horseradish cream cheese, Russ & Daughters

Everything bagel with pastrami-cured salmon and horseradish cream cheese, Russ & Daughters

While in New York, there was a lot of other eating to do outside of our Restaurant Week reservations. First off, in such a bagel-centric city, breakfast was a high priority. I was especially awestruck by Russ & Daughters, a smoked fish mecca that’s been around for 100 years, but that I hadn’t visited until this trip. The pastrami-cured salmon combined two potent New York flavors into one unforgettable bagel topping, only enhanced by a slick of horseradish cream cheese. I can’t wait to go back and taste more kinds of fish! We also stopped at legendary Katz’s Deli (you may remember it from When Harry Met Sally or Enchanted) – since it was a little too early in the day for a sky-high sandwich, we settled for a simpler snack of latkes with applesauce and sour cream.

Cream cheese and caviar at the Russ & Daughters counter as my bagel is being prepared

Cream cheese and caviar at the Russ & Daughters counter as my bagel is assembled

Smoked fish heaven at Russ & Daughters

Smoked fish heaven at Russ & Daughters

Latkes and coffee, Katz's Delicatessen

Latkes and coffee, Katz’s Delicatessen

Interior at the legendary Katz's deli, including the "When Harry Met Sally" sign

Interior at the legendary Katz’s deli, including the “When Harry Met Sally” sign

In pursuit of pizza, another important New York food group, we ventured out to Roberta’s in Brooklyn. Both pies we tried were sublime, with bubbly, charred crusts and perfectly melted rounds of fresh mozzarella. The duck prosciutto with crusty bread had a nicely subtle richness as a starter. On the other end of the spectrum, I couldn’t resist inducting my friends into the late-night tradition that is 99-cent pizza: a piping hot, classic NY-style slice that might be the best value in Manhattan. It’s served at locations all over the island, and was a staple for my roommates and me when we lived there.

Four Emperors (arrabbiata, mozzarella, ricotta, capra con pepe, asiago, and sesame seed) and Lionheart (tomato, mozzarella, pecorino, prosciutto cotto, brussels sprouts, and onion) pizzas, Roberta's

Four Emperors (arrabbiata, mozzarella, ricotta, capra con pepe, asiago, and sesame seed) and Lionheart (tomato, mozzarella, pecorino, prosciutto cotto, brussels sprouts, and onion) pizzas, Roberta’s

Duck prosciutto with bread, Roberta's

Duck prosciutto with bread, Roberta’s

A late-night slice from one of the many 99-Cent Fresh Pizza locations

A late-night slice from one of the many 99-Cent Fresh Pizza locations

And then there was brunch at The Spotted Pig, Chef April Bloomfield’s ultra-popular West Village gastropub. I went for the sizzling sisig special, traditionally a Filipino dish made with diced-up pig face and an egg added in the middle. It was crispy, porky, garlicky, and a little over-the-top, but so delicious. All I wanted were more bread crisps to dip into what was left in the cast-iron pan. The deviled eggs made a zesty first bite, especially together with a Bloody Mary that was heavy on shaved horseradish.

Sizzling sisig (Filipino pig face dish), The Spotted Pig

Sizzling sisig (Filipino pig face dish), The Spotted Pig

Deviled eggs, The Spotted Pig

Deviled eggs, The Spotted Pig

Bloody Mary, The Spotted Pig

Bloody Mary, The Spotted Pig

Speaking of drinks, we came away with a few other favorite places to imbibe. My Calle Fresca margarita at the Meatpacking District location of Dos Caminos was pleasantly tropical with a punch from the ancho-salt rim (I also loved their chips and salsa). We were also seeking somewhere cozy for a glass of wine in Midtown East, and Cello Wine Bar fit the bill. Exposed brick, red-toned cushions, and lots of candles – and, of course, diverse by-the-glass options that we all enjoyed sipping.

Calle Fresca margarita with Cazadores Blanco, mango, cucumber, and ancho salt rim

Calle Fresca margarita with Cazadores Blanco, mango, cucumber, and ancho salt rim, Dos Caminos

Interior of cozy Cello Wine Bar

Interior of cozy Cello Wine Bar

The details: Russ & Daughters, 179 E. Houston St., Manhattan; Katz’s Delicatessen, 205 E. Houston St., Manhattan; Roberta’s, 261 Moore St., Brooklyn; 99-Cent Fresh Pizza, 473 Lexington Ave. (and many others), Manhattan; The Spotted Pig, 314 W. 11th St., Manhattan; Dos Caminos, 675 Hudson St., Manhattan; Cello Wine Bar, 229 E. 53rd St., Manhattan.

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