Wednesday, July 8, 2009

'Secret' suppers take off in Chi-Town

Stephanie Izard is the executive chef/owner of The Drunken Goat, set to open in early 2010. (Photo: Stephanie Izard)

You'd think during these challenging economic times chefs would be jumping through hoops to get your business. But for a select few revolutionary culinary stars, that's just the opposite.

Through an ongoing series of what have come to be known as the underground dinners, chef Efrain Cuevas of Clandestino cranks out inventive feasts in different, offbeat locations each time. They've done everything from a New Orleans-themed extravaganza to dinners in obscure venues on the South Side. To get in the mix, all you have to do is sign up for the newsletter, pay for your reservation and wait for the location to be disclosed a couple of days before the event. Prices vary.

David Burke's Primehouse Executive Chef Rick Gresh hosts a Wednesday Al Greshco event through the Green City Market season. The chef heads to the market with his team to pick out the best seasonal ingredients for a four-course dinner that'll be a total surprise for diners. Each week it changes, but the only way to get a reservation is by contacting Gresh via Facebook or Twitter. $55 per guest; $80 with Gresh’s specialty cocktail and wine pairings.

Expect there to be strong interest also in The Wandering Goat Dinner Series—the concept of Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard (also partner/chef for The Drunken Goat). Through November, the little powerhouse will host dinners ranging from backyard BBQs to warehouse parties in secret locations. The kickoff event on July 26 happens to be that BBQ, featuring the meats of Allen Bros. and microbrews of Three Floyds. The final event will include vino from her very own label, Drunken Goat Wine. The only way to RSVP is through her website. All events are $50 and include food and drinks.

And the monthly party known as At The Bar at The Drawing Room is the collaboration between Executive Chef Nick Lacasse and chief mixologist Charles Joly. An inventive, three-course meal is paired with hand-crafted, signature cocktails. While the events aren't exactly "secret," there's only eight seats available, which sell out as soon as it is announced. The next At The Bar happens at 6:30pm July 16, so get on it! $45.