This week in Food & Drink | Bleader

This week in Food & Drink

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Mike Sula catches up with Phillip Foss, the Le Cirque-trained chef who after being fired from Lockwood for tweeting a bong joke started one of the city’s first food trucks, the Meatyballs Mobile. Foss recently shelved the meatballs to devote all his time to three-month-old El Ideas, the tiny 14th Street fine-dining venture where he’s teamed up with Andrew Brochu, formerly of the late Kith & Kin. They’re serving multiple-course prix fixe dinners featuring painterly dishes like Brochu’s take on frozen broccoli and cauliflower with cheddar sauce (pictured) and Foss’s “eggs,” a disk of uni flan on rock shrimp with custardy slow-scrambled eggs and arctic char roe. The restaurant now is up to 16 seats, but the $135 tickets for the meal, which are distributed based on a lottery, are hard to come by—El Ideas is booked through the spring of 2012.

In Key Ingredient Michael McGill of Old Oak Tap is tasked with grass jelly, which is made from an east Asian plant in the mint family and used mostly in desserts and sweet drinks. “I have nothing positive to say about grass jelly,” he said of his first and last foray into the stuff. Inspired by a traditional crushed-ice dessert, he made ravioli with grass jelly, candied walnuts, and roasted beets served in coconut milk and garnished with watermelon and more grass jelly. “Think of it like shaved Parmesan on top of your pumpkin ravioli,” he said. Next up is Rodney Staton of the soon-to-open “chef-driven sports bar” the Ogden, working with calves’ liver.

In the listings are 12 gastropubs, among them Wicker Park's subterranean the Bedford; Noble Square’s Frontier, where chef Brian Jupiter focuses on game; and the northwest-side Portage, which shuts down early (10 PM on Friday and Saturday, 9 PM on other nights) and is now closed on Mondays for the winter.

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