Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Lite Bites: What Your Favorite Chefs & Mixologists Are Up To Around Town This Week

Rick Gresh of David Burke's Primehouse (Photo: David Burke's Primehouse)

Let's get rollin' . . .

• The Chicago Auto Show's First Look For Charity happens Feb. 8, and for the second year in a row Rick Gresh (David Burke's Primehouse) is one of the headlining chefs for the black-tie event. Also serving up bites will be Jeff Shapiro (Real Urban Barbecue) and Chef Chao (Union Sushi). Get ready for spicy BBQ duck breast, braised boneless short ribs, Garrett popcorn and "red neck" tacos.

• Former BIN 36 chef John Caputo has settled into his new role as executive chef at City Tavern, and he's finally released a new menu. Of note are the split pea and smoked ham hock chowder; wild boar and short rib meatloaf that comes with macaroni and cheese gratin; and beer-battered skate "fingers" served with a tabasco-lime aioli and onion rings.

Drumbar's Craig Schoettler

Craig Schoettler's highly anticipated cocktail menu finally debuts to the public this week at Drumbar. The former executive bar chef at The Aviary has brought some of his award-winning magic to this rooftop cocktail lounge, but you can only order the "progressive" drinks on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. During a recent media tasting, we were lucky to try them all, but I'm putting bets on a few that will become instant classics: Smoke, which actually arrives to the table smoking with Laird's apple brandy, Nocino, Pineau des Charentes and Sarsaparilla; the soothing, after-dinner drink Rooibos of Bombay East gingerbread, roobios tea, pistachio, vanilla and cinnamon; and Lavender, which is packaged in a chilled glass flask. It's made with Corzo blanco tequila, Bonal, Cocchi Americano and lavender. Schoettler has also curated an impressive selection of spirits from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

Ombra chef Rafael Vargas (Photo: Ombra)

Rafael Vargas (Acre, Anteprima, DMK Burger Bar) has been named chef de cucina at Ombra. He's set to bring more of a seasonal focus to the Andersonville resto as well as an increased fresh pasta selection.

David Dworshak has moved on from Carnivale and is now concentrating on Takito, which is set to open in March. Just some of the items to expect when the Wicker Park restaurant debuts: lamb "queso fundido" with jicama escabeche; Yucatecan-style chicken soup with plantains and recado verde; and a number of tacos.

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