I started exploring Underground dinners a year ago and haven’t looked back. Creative and exciting food, fascinating dinner participants, and the warm welcoming into these chef’s homes really make it a unique experience every time.
My favorite Underground, One Sister, became Elizabeth restaurant so I sought out to get my fix elsewhere. I recently ate at Thurk Underground (post coming soon) and last night dined at Sous Rising Guesterant with Chef Jake Bickelhaupt (veteran of Alinea, Schwa, and Charlie Trotter’s). He and his wife, Alexa, host the dinners in their place in Uptown. An open kitchen leading into the dining area allowed us to see Jake plate as well as converse with him and give feedback throughout the night. Alexa did an amazing job making us feel right at home, pouring our wine and helping serve.
We booked out the entire table of 8 with our Supper Club so we didn’t have the pleasure of meeting anyone new, but Jake and Alexa genuinely seemed excited to have us. Jake’s take on American cuisine combined molecular techniques — where needed — for surprise. The flavors were inventive and bright. Execution was perfect and the presentation — stunning. I’m looking forward to seeing Jake obtain his goal of opening a small BYO restaurant and dining with him again!
**I forgot my camera at home so these photos are all taken with my camera phone. For better pictures, visit: http://www.sousrisingchicago.com/gallery.html taken by Huge Galdones.
Trout Roe: coconut cream, white chocolate, pink peppercorn, pineapple
Kiwano: gin, horned melon, rosewater, hibiscus
Soup: fingerling potato chips, pea, milk, tomato, tendril
Salad: Spanish octopus, avocado, finger lime, coconut, coast of Maine kelp
Winter corn: yolk, fermented black bean, Murray River salt
Kampachi: Sake cure, pomelo, carob, banana, tapioca pearls
Gnocchi: hedgehog mushroom, black truffle, broccolini, pecorino
Black Pig: Kurobuta, Okinawan, chestnut, tamarind
Uni: maitake, Asian crouton, black garlic, burdock root, kumquat
Beef: mango, aged soy, nori, yuzu kosho
Sweet: Shortbread, root beer, prune, orange, vanilla, honey
Caffeine: espuma, coffeeweed, cardamom