Monday, September 21, 2015 –Reception: 6:30 pm
Dinner: 7:15 pm
Event Price: $175.00 per person, all-inclusive
Dress Code: Smart casual with decorations for members
Parking: Street parking on Eleanor and Loomis Streets
Dîner Amical at The Duck Inn
On September 21, 2015, Chaîne Chicago opened its 2015/2016 season with an al fresco “Dîner Amical” hosted by Chef Rôtisseur Kevin Hickey at The Duck Inn, where he serves as Executive Chef and Co-Owner. The former Michelin-starred fine-dining chef saw his lifelong dream fulfilled recently when he opened this restaurant in the same working-class Bridgeport neighborhood where he was raised and still resides. Sixty-seven attendees were delighted to renew camaraderie on a gorgeous late summer evening while experiencing creative New American cuisine.
Upon entering the pre-prohibition tavern, guests were welcomed with NV Gaston Chiquet Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs d’Aÿ Brut NV. The toasty, nutty notes of this 100% Chardonnay sparkler enhanced a tasty trio of hors d’oeuvres: foie gras English muffins with pickled stone fruit; lacquered Balinese duck wings; and Chef Kevin’s award-winning, Chicago-style duck fat hotdogs dressed with tomatoes and peppers from The Duck Inn gardens.
Members progressed to The Duck Inn’s secluded, fenced-in backyard where tiki torches and fairy lights illuminated rows of tables. First, guests were treated to a succulent Yorkshire breed suckling pig that was marinated overnight, then dry-rubbed with spices and roasted whole for six hours in a caja china oven that cooked the meat from above resulting in tender, flavorful pork with crispy skin. This course was accompanied by sweet corn grits, heirloom tomato salad with pickled cucumbers, and charred eggplant and green bean salad with a spicy XO seafood sauce. These offerings were paired with both a white and a red wine, each with ample acidity to cut through the richness of the pig. The white, a 2009 L’Angevin Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley, was both creamy and bright with notes of lemon, sweet spice, vanilla and minerals. The red, Vini Biondi Etna Outis Nessuno Rosso 2008, was made with Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio varietals that are native to Sicily and was medium in weight, with fine tannins, hints of mature red fruits, spice and earthy minerals.
The next course was the specialty of the house: duck, of course. A dozen carved birds were presented on massive wood cutting boards and served family style. The breasts were pan-roasted to a perfect medium rare, while the duck thighs and legs were brined, then air-dried and slow-roasted. The duck was accompanied by roasted potatoes, cooked at the bottom of the rotisserie and covered with duck fat drippings, and a “backyard” salad made from house-grown greens and slices of stone fruit. This course paired perfectly with 1996 Vosne-Romanée, Domaine des Perdrix. This Old World Pinot Noir displayed soft tannins, mellow fruit flavors and hints of smoke and earth. Finally, for dessert Chef Kevin prepared a bread pudding using buttery brioche from Pleasant House Bakery infused with chai spices that was complemented by 1992 Colheita Port from Quevedo.
As the evening concluded, Bailli Mon Roldan thanked Chef Kevin, General Manager John Williamson and their team, and presented them with a Chaîne plaque and certificates. The Duck Inn, named after his great-grandmother’s Depression-era diner, is an extraordinary expression of Chef Kevin’s warm personality and affection for the neighborhood where his family has lived for seven generations. He continues to draw on culinary experiences with the city’s numerous ethnic communities and uses their big, bold flavor profiles to elevate beautiful local products, some grown right on site. With friendships invigorated and bellies very full, Chaîne Chicago members declared the South Side season-opener a smashing success!
Dear Confrères and Consœurs,
It’s almost that time again, time to put away your flip-flops, dust off your Chaîne decorations and catch up with friends whom you haven’t broken bread with since our trip to Eataly in June! We hope you’ve all been enjoying a wonderful summer with its ever-changing weather and many outdoor activities.
Please join us for the first Chaîne event of the 2015-16 season as we dine alfresco and celebrate with a whole pig and duck roasts at The Duck Inn.
Chef Rôtisseur Kevin Hickey has been a Chaîne and Chicago favorite for many years. He dazzled us many times with dinners extraordinaire at the Four Seasons Hotel where he garnered a Michelin Star. It was an event that will not soon be forgotten. Chef Rôtisseur Hickey is definitely a fine dining chef who has come back to his roots with The Duck Inn, his personal venture. The ambience is that of a neighborhood corner tavern, kicked up a notch. The name comes from a diner owned by Chef’s grandmother during the Depression. He’s brought a few of his Four Seasons favorites with him to the Inn. The “dogs” he served there have been stuffed with both beef and duck. The signature dish, the roast duck, arrives crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Weather permitting, we’ll enjoy a whole pig roast on the lovely, outdoor patio.
We hope you can join us for a great way to bid adieu to the laziness of summer and hello to the crispness which is fall!
Mon Y. Roldan
Bailli de Chicago