Last week I went to Elizabeth again, on a whim. (The tickets were on sale, a real steal!)
For starters, the chef, Iliana Regan has had a couple of seasons under her belt now to really define and refine her menus, so for the Spring Menu everything was just wonderful.
Let’s get started…
Terrarium – Grandfather’s Farm
There was actually a similar dish back in the Fall Deer Menu, which I thought was interesting but maybe didn’t taste that great as it was too dry/bitter/etc. However, this time around Chef Regan got it right. Within this terrarium she’s added some paste or gelee in to add moisture. In addition, the tastes are more balanced so that no flavor overpowers any other. The seaweed strips also add this extra flavor (umami?) to the plate.
Ham, Lichens and Fiddleheads
I took so many photos of this one because it was so beautifully plated, which seems to be a theme throughout this menu. On the top left of the plate is proscuitto. Within the cannoli is a pork pate (i think it was pork pate, if not foie gras?) that tastes as good as foie gras.
…with Veggies in Hay Butter, Rhubarb Jam, Cured Deer and Homemade Cheese
Delicious bright radishes on the side to cleanse your palate after you slather your biscuit with butter, cheese, deer and jam. The rhubarb jam tasted fantastic.
Shoots and Tubers, Artichoke, Halibut and Spring Aroma
There was something jsut delightfully spring in this menu. Perhaps it was the aroma of the fresh flowers? Or perhaps it was the bring citrus flavors coming out in the dish. Or maybe it was the freshness and crispness of the artichokes? I’m not entirely sure, it just tasted like spring had finally decided to bloom (in my mouth). If I had to summarize this dish, I’d say it was like taking a walk through spring. Not the cold spring that’s been haunting Chicago for the last couple of months, but the warm breezy spring with lots of flowers in bloom.
Maplewood, Birch, and Dried Mushroom Tea
If the previous dish was like taking a walk on a warm spring day. The above dish is like staying inside and drinking hot soup on a chillier but just as bright spring day. The puree here is delicious.
It’s been a rough sort of past month, but I do think things are getting better. I’m trying to get more perspective on life and just do things that bring me joy instead worrying so much about how things turn out. (I definitely inherited my mother’s anxiety.)
Wild Boar with Spring
While the boar was cooked just right, what really stole the spotlight in this dish were the greens. They were so fresh and crisp that they just evoked spring. Overall, this dish was remarkably simple, but it was just so well done that I would pay for it (which I did).
Acorn, Deer Heart, Morels and Wild Berries
All the diners were at first apprehensive of the eating the deer hart (the red meat cubes). Upon closer inspection (and tasting), everybody realized it tasted like roast beef, just like the chef promised.
And dessert… this might be one of my favorite desserts of all time…
One last thought…
And that finishes off the menu of the spring at Elizabeth.
This month has been moving pretty fast. This weekend I’ll be in LA for a fancy-smancy wedding. And then, the month’s almost over!