Monday, June 16, 2003
Maitre Rotisseur Pierre Pollin’s With Chef Michael Maddox
Le Titi de Paris
Two leitmotifs ran through Maître Rôtisseur Pierre Pollin’s dinner. One had to do with the reception, which acted, as evenings often do with the Chaîne, as the vehicle for members to catch up, morphing into early evaluations and anticipation of what would follow. The other had to do with Pierre’s penchant for The Little Parisian Rascal to make every single diner happy and highly pleased to be seated and ready to be beguiled by a neat parade of dishes. Charm continues to exude from this thirty-year old establishment, expertly managed and steered by Normandy-born Pierre Pollin and his wife Judith. Executive Chef and partner, Michael Maddox has proved to be equally renown operating with aplomb and relish. Maître Rôtisseur Pedro Dos Santos proposed the toast.
A rare reverence respecting all things Norman flourishes in Pierre Pollin’s kitchen strengthening the notion that the path to gastronomic greatness dictates that good food must be simple but perfectly done. We were treated to a classic six-course dinner comprising an intriguingly flavored series of dishes that dwelt proudly on the symbolism of Pierre’s region of France. Entwined within the dishes was Le Trou Normand – a four year old Calvados du Pays d’Auge – that efficiently carved space in between roasted quail with a creamy morel sauce and paired with a Grand Cru Domaine Armand Rousseau Charmes-Chambertin 1990, and the flavorful lamb loin with a Swedish lingonberry/Pinot Noir reduction.
Wine Committee member Chevalier Jeff Berry gave a commentary of the wines ranging from the hand-crafted and vivacious Darioush Signature Chardonnay 2001 to the well-balanced Goldeneye Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley 1998. An almost perfect match was achieved between the seared halibut, sauerkraut and saffron sauce and the exotic, dry style of the Domaine Weinbach Reisling, Cuvée Theo 2001. Vice-Conseiller Culinaire Heinz Kern was offered a framed memento by Vice-Chargée de Presse Jane Tracy of the Gastronome article depicting the Chapter’s fun events on the Chicago First Lady boat cruise catered by Heinz’s Palette’s restaurant.
The Chicago Chapter welcomed that night Sous Chef from the Chicago Four Seasons Hotel, Dan Olson, who had represented the Bailliage at the Mid-West Jeune Commis competition. His hard work, talent and grace were widely appreciated. It was also a pleasure to see Dame de la Chaîne Beverly Blettner seated amongst us once again.
Like the rounded architectural arches of Charlemagne, King of the Franks in Normandy, the well-formed and pleasing dishes by the current day Norman belies his restaurant’s name. There is no room for scoundrels or scamps at Pierre Pollin’s Norman domain in Arlington Heights, USA.