Monday, March 17, 2014 –
Elegant and smart casual dining at one of the most beautiful venues in the city
Celebrating St. Paddy’s Day at NoMI
St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago means plentiful public inebriation and a river dyed green. On March 17, 2014, the Chicago Chaîne escaped this drunken revelry in the Park Hyatt’s refined NoMI Kitchen where Executive Chef Ryan LaRoche and his team created a special menu paying proper respect to the Emerald Isle.
Bruno Michel Cuvée Blanche Champagne was served tableside with four hors d’oeuvres: Smoked Duck Breast with caraway dauphine and mustard sabayon; Grapefruit Cured Irish Salmon with pickled blackberry on marble rye wafers; Cauliflower Gelée with breakfast radish and vanilla; and Black Trumpet Soda Bread Tart with aged ricotta, leeks and mushroom mousse. The bubbly exhibited diverse flavors of toast, mushrooms and citrus that complemented all canapés.
First course was Soup of Three Celeries with flavors of truffle, preserved apple and walnut brioche. Chad Ellegood, NoMI’s Sommelier and General Manager, provided insightful wine commentary, noting that the 2011 Weingut Familie Prieler Seeberg Pinot Blanc revealed fresh apple, lime and salty minerals on the palate that perfectly harmonized with the soup’s richness.
Next was Asparagus and Golden Eggs with duck heart, pearl onion and port jus, a play on Chef LaRoche’s first NoMI creation. The 2007 Richter Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett had an intense fruit and mineral profile that may have been a touch sweet, but was delicious with the duck hearts.
Third course was Spring Papillote that celebrated the season’s bounty. Servers cut open the Carta Fata paper and poured garlic vinaigrette butter over escargot, mussels, pickled ramps, morels, ham hock and rosemary. 2009 Peter Michael Ma Belle-Fille Chardonnay accompanied this dish, its lemon, butterscotch and pastry palate making for a delightful pairing.
St. Patrick’s Day wouldn’t be complete without corned beef. Sous Chef Sean Pharr’s remarkable interpretation was Irish Corned Veal Cheek on currant jam with traditional garniture, crème fraîche and port jus. Two beverages were offered with this course: a smooth 2000 Giovanni Manzone San Stefano di Perno Barolo with cherry and earth notes; and Left Hand Milk Stout from Colorado. The wine was lovely, but the beer won the day with its rich, roasty bitterness and tangy sweet cream finish that enhanced the veal.
Finally, Pastry Chef Meg Galus’ presented Dark Milk Chocolate Mousse and Marscapone Cake accompanied by whipped white mint panna cotta, which was appropriately paired with bright green Grand Chartreuse. This French liqueur wasn’t universally loved, but many enjoyed its complex minty and anise flavors with her inventive dessert.
On St. Patrick’s Day everyone is Irish, but unfortunately the holiday has become synonymous with public debauchery in the Windy City. Thankfully, the Chicago Chaîne found refuge at NoMI with a sophisticated celebration that, with the luck of the Irish, will become a new tradition. Sláinte!
PHOTOS BY CHEVALIER HUGE GALDONES