Saturday, August 2, 2014

Lastly through a hogshead of real fire!

So all night after our really fun meal at Yusho I kept having the Beatle's song "for the benefit of Mr. Kite" running through my head. I think it is a combination of the circus-y background music and some lyrics that brought it to mind- one of the lines includes the phrase "a hog's head of real fire!"

as a matter of fact- here are the actual lyrics - and now that I have them in hand (so to speak) I think you should get the "flavor" of the evening as well- I have highlighted in red those words that must have brought the song to mind...

For the benefit of Mr. Kite
 There will be a show tonight on trampoline
 The Hendersons will all be there
 Late of Pablo Fanques' fair, what a scene

Over men and horses hoops and garters
 Lastly through a hogshead of real fire
 In this way Mr. K will challenge the world

The celebrated Mr. K
 Performs his feats on Saturday at Bishopsgate
 The Hendersons will dance and sing
 As Mr. Kite flies through the ring, don't be late

Messrs K. and H. assure the public
 Their production will be second to none
 And of course Henry the Horse dances the waltz

The band begins at ten to six
 When Mr. K performs his tricks without a sound
 And Mr. H will demonstrate
 Ten somersets he'll undertake on solid ground

Having been some days in preparation
 A splendid time is guaranteed for all
 And tonight Mr. Kite is topping the bill

A bit of background about the restaurant - from their website - also helps understand the atmosphere of the evening: About Us - Street food is the great equalizer—no glamour required. Yakitori, when well-executed, is about the simple flavors of authentic street food. A hot grill provides intense flavors from seasonal proteins and vegetables, grilled to order over a chattering, hissing fire.

You may recall that we somewhat recently dined at A10 which is another of Owner/Executive Chef Matthias Merges places... actually Yusho came first, then Billy Sunday and then A10 followed by Yusho Las Vegas and soon to be followed by Yusho Hyde Park... the guy is building a little empire (LOL)

His background (again from the website) Matthias has spent most of two decades cooking and living in Chicago, most notably as the Executive Chef of Charlie Trotter’s for the past 14 years. Matthias has mentored some of the most talented and respected professionals in the restaurant industry.

We hadn't eaten at Yusho, so when Mon & Beth asked if we wanted to join in a chef's table dinner there we of course agreed.  There would be several others we knew and it would be a fun evening guaranteed- because Mon & Beth know how to "throw a party" no matter where they go! 

so first I will put in a few photos from the website and then get into our evening of fun and amazing fare!

The place is located just north of Logan Square and is decorated in a fairly austere manner (sort of unlike the Billy Sunday old-timey look, this place is clean lines and modern style)  
here are a few of my own photos- 

I really liked the mix of lights -

we laughed at the women's room- giant towel roll- tiny sink...

but on to the meal- which we had some idea of before arriving because Mon had pre ordered the confit of pig's head, a whole fish (red snapper) and a peking duck... that gave everyone the brilliant idea of bringing rose sparkling/rose champagne (LOL) - so we started with two bottles from separate cellars of 2004 Bollinger Grand Annee Rose and segued into the niece of those two with the 2009 Argyle Brut Rose sparkling (early on Argyle was a joint venture in part with Bollinger) 

and yes those were two different bottles - LOL - we weren't seeing double yet- LOL

these were poured as we ate our starters of oysters (fresh and grilled) and twice fried chicken from the regular menu, along with a carbonara dish... Phil liked the 2x fried chicken and of course I liked the oysters (being one of my favorite foods- it was an easy call)

chicken above  and oysters below-

then the bucatini carbonara-

and grilled oysters

Then it was on to more wine and the mains!

the red snapper-

the duck

the pig's head -

tongue and eyes roasted as part of the WHOLE head (in real fire!LOL- sing along now!)

the duck, after it had been sliced by the staff

We dug into the fish and the pig's head and made short work of both- LOL you can see the results (and can't you hear the Mr. Kite music in the background as the group went from tray to tray since they were too large to really pass around) Mon deftly trimmed every part of the meat off the head and we devoured it all! (aren't there always animals in the circus? LOL)

Mon with the fish

Mon with the pig's head-

not quite done yet-

seriously picked clean! and you can see the guy who sacrificed himself to the evening had quite nice dentition!

about this time Mirella cracked me up by telling me that she had been trying to convince Mark to eat more veggies and has been giving up meat- LOL- the photo below was her plate!

Then we settled in for some more wine and some time out before the three desserts arrived- 

Three sweets at the end of the meal included- 
  • banana split with hummingbird cake, ginger strawberries, chipotle chocolate
  • funnel cake with rhubarb, lemongrass
  • soft serve of burnt marshmallow, amaro berry, crunchy chocolate ball

and because I missed the photo of the soft serve I need to import one from the website- LOL

the chef came out to a well deserved round of applause!

the wines were lined up as they were finished - so there was a good shot of what we had over the course of the evening- midnight came sooner than expected LOL and we all said our goodbyes - but not before setting up time to see each other again!

I put both of the photos (flash and no flash in - for anyone who wanted to be able to read the labels) but this brings up a pet peeve of mine - flash- is there no way the inventors can make a flash look more like natural light?  - below are two photos I took in the restaurant one with and one without flash and you can see the issue- clarity versus warmth and no matter how great your image sensor is (although I was only using my cell phone camera) you can't get sharp sharp sharp focus in natural low light unless you can have a steady long exposure - just sayin...... maybe someone could work on that one.....

so a fun fun evening - 

menu- if you want to see what you can order if you just go in---

the group photo- maybe there is a thematic resemblance with the photo of the "after" pig's head- LOL

so I think you may know from prior posts, but I am off on a DART trip with TB next week - will post tons when I return, meanwhile - here is the link to the DART website which is awaiting front page updates but has all the prior DART trips on the other tabs/pages! (they are listed along the top of the front page just above the photo header)

Back soon!