Bone Marrow with Huitlacoche

At Rappahannock Oysters in Union Market. Not sure why they have it on the menu, but was delicious!

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Next, Chicago Steak

There are a number of reviews  of Next’s most recent Chicago steak menu.  Most think it’s less exciting than previous menus (they change 3 times a year) and some complain that it’s more expensive, especially because they don’t think it’s the best steak  in Chicago  (http://chicago.seriouseats.com/2014/01/first-impressions-of-nexts-chicago-steakhouse.html). The meal starts with various takes on steak house classics.  Some were excellent and beautiful like this broccoli and bread salad with oysters:

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Others weren’t as tasty, but they were still pretty.  Like this shrimp cocktail, which was just a bit mealy:

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Now for the meat. I can’t speak to whether or not it obliterates every other steak in town (sadly I’d need to do more in depth research than either my wallet or waistline can handle).  But I can tell you this was an excellent steak! I mean really excellent.  The 30 day age added some real complexity without overwhelming the underlying meaty flavor. In the end I did end up sort of agreeing with the review posted above that I wouldn’t have minded just that steak and a glass of wine. But that’s only because by the time we got to the steak I was too full to eat as much of it as I would have liked. I mean look at this meat!

photo 4I think what they were trying to do here was modernize a really old school steak house experience. They succeeded. I mean my dessert was even on fire:

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And I can raise a glass to that!

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The Publican, Chicago

The Publican might be one of the best places I’ve eaten at recently. The Bob and self popped in for brunch before an afternoon at the Art Institute and it was really a great way to start the day. There are so many reasons to love this place. Of course the great letter they wrote to PETA: http://chicagoist.com/2014/01/13/publican_quality_meats_dishes_up_cl.php.

The charming decor:

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The best french fries I’ve had since I was a kid. I have to wax poetic for a second here. There used to be a Belgian frites place on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. When I was a kid I’m pretty sure it was my favorite restaurant in the whole world. They made perfect fries (crunchy outside and fluffy inside) and only fries and served them with garlic mayonnaise. They closed like two decades ago and I’ve never had a fry as good since. Until the Publican. They even came with garlic mayo!

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I had an Asian style pork with fried egg and dashi. The broth was so good I had to ask for more rice to make sure I soaked it all up.

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The Bob opted for a fluffy pancake with bacon wrapped chicken and sausage baked into it. Also delicious. I hope we get back to Chicago soon because I’m dying to have dinner here. Oh, and another reason to love them? They have adopted the trend (which I love) of telling you where they source their meat (for every single dish) on their ever changing menu.

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Snow Day Noms: Braised Ox Tail

Last time we had a snow day I slow braised some oxtails, loosely using this NYT recipe: http://www.nytimes.com/recipes/1016029/wine-braised-oxtail.html. It was the perfect dish for sitting inside by the fire on a cold snowy day. Rich and meaty bones swimming in an unctuous sauce cut by a tangy pea shoot salad and served with creamy boiled potatoes were just what the doctor ordered.

Even the prospect of a day off work isn’t enough to get me behind more winter weather at this point. Maybe I need to pick up some more ox tails …

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The District Fish Wife

I’ve been excited about the long awaited opening of the District Fish Wife in Union Market. For one thing, not having to get myself all the way to Georgetown to go to Cannons would be nice. We swung by to check it out today. A pretty selection, although they only had farmed salmon which I found surprising.

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We bought some tuna, which was very good.

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I served it with an Asian style roasted carrot salad with scallions and a sesame vinaigrette and coconut rice.

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We also got some monkfish. I’ve never cooked it before so that should be a bit of an adventure.