And here is why - every course was "real food" - something you don't always see in high end dining where the art is often more important to the chef. In some cases I would even say the artifice beyond the art (which can be satisfying- as long as the diners love the taste and are satiated as well.)
This pop up provides as near perfect experience of dining out as I think one can have... no noisy people at the next table, or worse the sullen silent ones who have just had a fight before arriving for their long awaited reservation. It is just you and five friends at a lovely dining room table. It isn't exactly the "in the kitchen" chef's table but Chef Jeff is cooking literally two steps away and is interactive in the very best way. He is friendly and welcoming and open to discussions about ingredients and life in general. The discussion around the table is of the Chicago restaurant scene and the world dining options. It touches on foreign cuisine and ingredients, a sharing of knowledge that seems to naturally lead from one subject to the next... the hours fly by and somehow it's after midnight- or it was for the five of us.
Lucky diners - the convivial table was made up of the Blasers and Shari Massey (Kevin was just returning from a week away at Disaster Preparedness Training with the Air National Guard where he volunteers as a chaplain; and couldn't make it back into town in time to join in the festivities) and the two of us, who wandered on over from our own 2C to Chef Jeff's!
So as I always do, I will start out with my favorite photo- which is also sometimes my favorite course and then go into the full menu and wine pairings- so here is my favorite photo of the food- the trout course- described in more detail later...
we started with the champagne Shari and Kevin brought to Bastille day dinner last weekend but that we never got to open up due to an abundance of wines and the pacing of the dinner and pairings of the food... and it was magnificent -
this might vie for favorite course - incredible eggs on eggs with a side of eggs LOL- the foamy area is actually sous vide eggs with cream and butter them whipped so the texture is like just setting up whipped cream and it tasted like scrambled eggs - the breakfast theme was one we all immediately latched on to as the next course would bring forth pancakes and house made bacon and we wondered if it wouldn't be better to just stay and have breakfast too LOL
we stayed with the champagne (from Shari again) and added the Chablis (ours)
but for the next course Jeff served us the Sake (that Stephanie & John brought) as he thought it the perfect pairing with the chiles and crispy duck tongues in the elotes - and it was!
the rigatoni was lighter and not too red sauce like so we stayed with whites and opened a bigger Sigrid (ours) and a 1996 Pommard from Jadot (photo missing) but it didn't need red at this point as the dish was so well balanced a bigger white was just right!
on to the meaty courses and by this time the wines were a free for all but we did not get around to opening the Clerc Milon Bordeaux so we are saving that for another meal... the two next course each were excellent but the wagyu was melt in your mouth perfect with the to-die-for truffled potatoes. So I give the beef a slight edge over the duck as the set up was more to my taste otherwise it would be neck and neck in this match up...
the group was split on the winner of the sorbet match up - several went each way so it was declared a "draw" LOL
and just when you think you have reached your limits of favorites you get this course of amazing combinations - we ordered the honeycombs to be served with our breakfast LOL. The texture was so crispy and light and full of gingery flavor...
the full menu