In Key Ingredient chef Jason Vincent of Nightwood is challenged with duck tongues, which he says are “gross,” no way around it. When used in Asian cuisines they’re fried, which is what Vincent wound up doing after cold smoking them and braising them. Then he went nuts, making a hoagie with the tongues plus goat cheese, house-made fish sauce, fermented foie gras, a duck-fat-poached egg, black beans, corn, melon, plum, tomato, honey and pollen reduction, fried lemon slices, chile vinaigrette, arugula, and cilantro. “I figure one of these is going to cover up the flavor of the duck tongues,” he joked. Next up is B.K. Park of Arami, working with chufa, a plant used in Spain to make horchata.
Mike Sula reviews Al Dente, the Irving Park restaurant from Spiaggia vet Javier Perez, who started as a dishwasher at Tony Mantuano’s old restaurant Tuttaposto and worked his way up from there, putting in stops at Marche, MK, and Cibo Matto as well. He’s drawing on the farmers’ market to produce midwestern-Italian fare with some Mexican touches, for example light, plump gnocchi made with masa or a perfectly cooked filet mignon with hedgehog mushrooms, green beans, and purple mashed potatoes. It’s BYO, with a liquor license in the works.
Sam Worley reviews Ethyl’s Beer & Wine Dive, which isn’t so much a dive as another shticky production from Scott Harris, who’s vowed to take over Taylor Street. Here you’ll find more than 40 beers in cans and a handful on tap, cocktails served in jars, and “macs and snacks” such as pimento mac with andouille and tomato, a clam bucket also with andouille, and desserts like the broken glass pie: chunks of Jell-O suspended in whipped cream served with a graham-cracker crust.