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USA Dinner

Chicago, March 11, 2013

Bailliage of Chicago

It’s all about ‘Grace’

Sixty members and guests experienced the elegant culinary artistry showcased at Grace, the three-month old restaurant led by Chef-Owner Curtis Duffy and his partner, General Manager Michael Muser.

Grace has been garnering 4-star reviews for its “thoughtfully progressive” cuisine represented in two menus – one celebrating vegetables (“Flora”) and the other proteins (“Fauna”). The special menu assembled for our evening included dishes from both menus paired with amazing wines from our cellar. Judging by our evening, Grace has indeed found a home at this extraordinary addition to the world of refined dining.

Eighteenth century literary intellectual Friedrich Schiller wrote “Grace is the beauty of form under the influence of freedom.” Chef Duffy has passionately embraced this philosophy on his quest to create the best restaurant in the world. Free from the limitations imposed by his last venture, Chef Duffy and his team transformed industrial space into a beautiful modern dining room.

Culinary highlights of the evening included:

- Meyer lemon panna cotta with a bitter kumquat jam, delicate seaweed, a generous dollop of briny Osetra caviar and chive;

- an interactive sculptural interpretation of sashimi: coconut rice pudding, golden trout roe, nairagi (commonly known as striped marlin), candied pomelo and pomelo segments and Thai basil. All were enveloped by a thin sleeve of ginger-flavoured ice that diners shattered into a mixture that evoked the sea;

- pureed chestnuts transformed into a thick pudding using roasted almond milk that supported slivers of salted black truffle meringue, Périgord black truffles and red sorrel leaves.

Every stunningly beautiful dish personified Grace’s commitment to sourcing the highest-quality ingredients, emphasizing flavour first with modernist techniques playing a strong supporting role. Favourite oenophilic offerings of the night included Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc 2000 and Mommessin Clos de Tart Grand Cru Monopole 1990.

Towards the end of the evening, GM Michael Muser introduced some of the rising stars in Grace’s kitchen, including Chef de Cuisine Nick Romero and Pastry Chef Bobby Schaffer, and then Chef Duffy himself.

Bailli Jane Tracy thanked the entire Grace team for a magical dining experience. She presented Chef Curtis with a commemorative Chaîne plate and Caviste Mon Roldan presented a commemorative decanter to Mr Muser together with a bottle of the incredible Burgundy.

Todd Arkebauer, Vice-Chargé de Presse                                             Photography: Galdones Photography LLC