Wednesday, October 28, 2009

You Cannot Win Them All . . .


Piccolo owner Phil McFarland's not exactly mourning the sudden shuttering of his short-lived Italian gelato and deli digs in Ukrainian Village.

"That just wasn't our core business and it showed," he told 312DD. "We put a good foot forward, but ultimately are better off focusing on some of our other operations."

Believe us, he's not exaggerating. In addition to hosting a number of high-profile beer events this fall at his Wicker Park Small Bar location, he's opening a third in Lincoln Park by the end of November (the second busy one's in Logan Square), plus even "bigger and better things in the works."

So all is not lost. We love to hear some good coming out of an unfortunate situation.

Swine Flu-ids You Will Love

Chef Rick Gresh uses the melting wax from bacon fat-infused votives to drizzle over entrees.

Primehouse exec chef Rick Gresh is up in New York City this week showing media Chicago's no second-class city.

He's hosting a series of fab dinners at David Burke's scene-y Upper East Side Fishtail, and he's blowing them away with his latest creation: the bacon fat-infused votive.

The New York Times' Diner's Journal blog was there, and noted that Gresh uses some of the melting wax over steaks, seafood and other dishes for a touch of hickory-smoked finish.

The writer gushed that "a drizzle on some miso-glazed sea scallops ramped up the flavor" during dinner, and even the wick is coated with edible vegetable wax!

On Friday, the butcher shop at Primehouse will start selling the candles for $5, so you can do the drizzling yourself—at home.

Please, Rick, please make the next one chocolate flavored!

Get Ready for Gilt—Going into Former Aigre Doux Space

Look for this space, the former home to Aigre Doux, to dramatically change come January when it becomes Gilt.

Brendan Sodikoff's last Facebook status happened on Aug. 30 and simply read: "Just bought a restaurant in Chicago. Who wants to come aboard or get involved?"

Today we found out exactly what the LEYE exec chef/HUB 51 chef was talking about.

An Ultimate Insider told 312DD that Sodikoff's transforming the French-focused Aigre Doux space in River North into Gilt, which promises a former "L20 crowd (from front and back of house), low cost and people excited to cook freely." There's also "talk of hanging charcuterie," so we're expecting a downscaled, yet trendy design element here.

Brendan Sodikoff

This is going to be big. Sodikoff's already gotten the blessing from LEYE head honcho Rich Melman, plus his resume's quite impressive, with stints at the famed French Laundry, New York's Per Se, Ritz Paris, and alain ducasse (in NYC and Paris).

He's working on a January opening, according to our insider, and we cannot wait. Hopefully he can finally break that "curse" the venue's been plagued with for more than 10 years . . .