Always on the mission for flavor combinations that I’ve never tasted, plating I’ve never seen, and ingredients I’ve never experienced, I typically don’t seek out simple food unless it’s a perfect baguette, good butter, or something of the like. However, I’m beginning to understand that I totally missed the point of what simple can be.
I met Chef Justin Behlke of Thurk through my friend, Melissa. They met on LTH forum where she offered to host one of his Underground meals at her place. He previously staged at Noma and wanted to bring simple, focused food to Chicago without all the drama of kitchen hierarchy. And so Thurk was born. After speaking to Justin, his passion and drive captured me.
Below are images from my most recent dinner a few weeks ago. Still amazed how complex everything tasted, yet how simple the ingredients were. Flakes of Alaskan maldon salt popping through the soft texture of freshly made cheese make my tastebuds squeal. Light pops of vinegar carrots cutting through the pan-fried pig face and warm pork broth caused me to close my eyes and wish the moment would never end. These pops of surprise tell me that simple can be complex with the right chef behind the plate
And let’s be honest — this is as close to Noma I am going to get for a while.
Letherbee gin and Q tonic with thyme
Fresh cheese, honey, and thyme
Smoked trout pie
Cured pork belly with lacto-fermented carrot
Homemade sourdough bread and homemade butter
Young kraut, egg yolk, basil (before the mushroom tea)
Mushroom tea pouring over the kraut and egg yolk
Roasted beets, smoked sour cream, and leek ash
Cheese dumplings with root vegetables
Pig’s head, grated carrot (before pork broth)
Chef Justin Behlke pouring pork broth
Pork chop with brown butter, kale chips, and beer shallots
Squash butter and milk sorbet
Beer marshmallows, burnt honey candy, and biscuit cookie with tomato jam