Wednesday, November 20, 2013

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

'Still Life Moving Fast' course from the Salvador Dali menu at iNG (Photo: iNG Restaurant)

Tim Havidic's new menu at iNG will blow your mind. The chef's multi-course tasting menu was inspired by the great surrealist Salvador Dali, and we were treated to a sneak preview last week. From vibrant colors to artistic accents, Havidic's offering demonstrates that he's quite the artist himself.

Alas, we only got three courses (menu ranges from three to 10), but if that was any indication of what to expect, diners are certainly in for a treat. Honey is Sweeter Than "Bulls" Blood—based on one of his famed works of art—consisted of roasted beets, roasted beet sorbet with pine nut purée, orange zest preserves and pickled beets. It also came with bulls blood salad that was topped with frozen beet vinaigrette. You obviously need to be a beet lover to enjoy.

Still Life Moving Fast, inspired by another Dali creation, is an explosion of sweet and savory market fresh flavors. Spiced pear butter puree, pumpkin nuggets, pumpkin-enhanced butter and roasted red peppers converge for a masterpiece. Each course is paired with a specialty cocktail, beer or wine to further enhance the experience.

The Dali menu is now underway, and guests can make reservations for 10 courses ($105), six courses ($85) or three courses ($50). Reservations are required by calling the restaurant.

Carriage House cornbread with foie gras (Photo: Caroline Dixey)

• Also, Graham Elliot is set to close after New Year's Eve to reconcept. Here's the final menu. Call the restaurant for a reservation, which are highly recommended.

Mario Batali's Eataly finally has an opening date.

• I finally got a chance to get over to Mark Steuer's Carriage House for dinner and I completely understand how the Southern-focused, Wicker Park restaurant made Esquire's Best New Restaurants List. The Monday night feast, hosted by Bolthouse Farms, included Steuer's greatest hits like fried green tomatoes with whipped pimento cheese, spicy hominy and buttermilk vinaigrette; shrimp and grits dressed in a hunter gravy; fried chicken and cornbread with foie gras butter. The meal was served family style, and trust me when I say there were battles over that last piece of cornbread.

'Beginning to End' cocktail at The Berkshire Room (Photo: The Berkshire Room)

• The dope bartending team at The Berkshire Room has rolled out its latest cocktail menu. Benjamin Schiller, Johnny Costello, Jr. and co. have added eight new drinks, including the very boozy Beginning To End. It's an original concoction by Costello and amped up with rum, rye, blended scotch and Benedictine with an Atlantico Rum finish. There's also their version of the Martinez, which is basically a classic Manhattan substituting gin for rye.

• And finally, check out the awesome list of chef, bartender and somm noms for the 2013 Jean Banchet Awards. Congrats to all!

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