Monday, September 19, 2005
With Chef Rôtisseur David Danielson – Executive Chef
BACK TO THE FUTURE at Maxim’s de Paris
Maxim’s originally opened in 1963 and counts among Chicago’s most famed historical places. A replica of the legendary Parisian art nouveau restaurant, this opulent and richly decorated site cleverly emulates the plush red banquettes and highly polished brass inlays found in the Moulin Rougesque style of late Nineteenth Century France. Donated by the original owners to the city, Maxim’s now belongs to the City of Chicago’s Cultural Affairs department, whose successful and visually artistic restoration work conserves this timeless period. Maxim’s de Paris is now made available to the general public for private gatherings.
Founded 20 years ago by Mr. John Calihan, Calihan Catering is widely regarded as the crème de la crème of private catering establishments in the city. Our own Chef Rôtisseur David Danielson, Executive Chef of Calihan Catering, and talented culinarian, crafted a menu that reflected traditional dining in a contemporary way. The menu consisted of classical French dishes given an untamed, modern twist. The combination of La Belle Epoque with the atmosphere of breaking through barriers of artistic creativity provided the symbolic meaning of this inspirational period so captured by the iconic Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. We welcomed to our tables Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer, Owner of the reputed French Pastry School in Chicago and winner of many illustrious International and U.S. competitions and prizes who had produced spun sugar showpieces and confection for each table.
The classically-sounding dinner began with Oysters Rockefeller and a warm, poached Kumomoto was served on spinach jelly, topped off with a fine pernod foam. Classically-sounding then became the operative word. There was nothing to suggest that Chef Rôtisseur Danielson was mired in the past and Sole Véronique – cooked sous-vide – came with a fennel confit and a white wine grape sorbet. Henri Duvernois would have approved the rendering of his famed lobster preparation as this crustacean was served with a soft almost melting gnocchi with Marscapone, baby leeks, French Chanterelles and lots of love. The contemporary cooking of Tournedos Rossini was a New York prime strip, sliced over a bed of white asparagus and a ravioli foie gras jelly that liquefied over the meat spilling with it Madeira and truffles. The jus was a reduction of truffles and veal stock. The classically structured Chateau Talbot St Julien 1986 from our cellar just kept on developing in the glass, treating us to an inky nose and smoky tones on the palate. It had a deep, sensual flavor and a satisfying finish.
Vice-Conseiller Culinaire Fréderic Castan gave an exemplary food commentary and Vice-Chancelier Argentier Mon Roldan displayed once again his broad knowledge of the wines. Accolades were hearty confirming this tour de force on behalf of Calihan Catering denoting the team building experience that comes with the success of a Chaîne dinner. The complete menu was all about the flavor and what is old is new again.