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In Key Ingredient, Dirk Flanigan of the Gage and Henri takes a handsaw to the fibrous five-foot-stalks of sugarcane he was challenged with and goes wild, using painstakingly extracted cane juice to marinate scallops, dried peelings to smoke them, cooking the cane sous vide and grating it over the top of the dish, and dehydrating fermented red patches of the stalks to make a cachaca-and-Malort shot followed by a chaser of lime coated in sugarcane powder. Next up, when the chef challenge returns after a two-week hiatus, is Kevin Hickey of the Four Seasons, working with foraged mountain ash berries.
Staff writer Sam Worley reviews Barn & Company, the Lincoln Park restaurant and bar where the executive chef is the peripatetic Bob Zrenner (most recently of Hubbard Inn and 33 Club) and the pit master is “barbecue-maven-about-town” Gary Wiviott, a past Reader contributor. Reviews have been mixed, but Worley was won over by the barbecue, in which he says the meat “tastes like nothing so much as a concentrated form of itself.”