In Key Ingredient Edward Kim of Ruxbin, challenged by Aria's Beverly Kim with turtle, decided to put it back in a shell, making a potpie with the reptile, braising it for several hours to soften it up, then shredding and frying it to overcome the dryness. "It's meat but it doesn't have meat flavor to it," he said. "It's like zombie meat." Next up is Kristine Subido of Wave, working with the infamous Filipino delicacy balut, fertilized duck egg.
Mike Sula reviews the Pump Room, the storied celebrity haunt in the former Ambassador East, which has been remodeled and "democratized" by Ian Schrager, the New Yorker behind the hotel's revamp as Public Chicago. Schrager brought in fellow New Yorker Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who in turn brought much of the menu over from his ABC Kitchen, keeping just a few dishes of yore.
Manning the kitchen is Bradford Phillips, a Blackbird vet most recently at LM Restaurant; Kady Yon, former pastry chef for the Boka Group, handles the sweets. Sula found his meals there "widely divergent" in execution despite the talents of Yon and Phillips. The joint, however, remains a place to see and be seen—even if the party at the legendary Booth One is all in blue jeans.
For our Cocktail Challenge, Duchamp mixologist Kris von Dopek concocted a Tex-Mex cocktail using nopales, cactus paddles, making a reduction of them with tamarind, pear nectar, and chocolate mole bitters, then mixing that with mezcal, fresh lime juice, and apple cider. He garnished the drink with a spritz of his house-made Earl Gray bitters and a slice of candied nopales. Next up is Luke LeFiles of Hot Chocolate, challenged with kimchi.