Sitting at a chef’s table is one of the greatest of restaurant treats — personal attention, customized tasting menu, the thrill of the whirling kitchen as dinnertime entertainment. When we think Chef’s Table, we tend to think along the lines “the kitchen table” at Charlie Trotter’s, where you’re generally obliged to express the per-head cost in terms of benjamins, and you have to make your reservation 4 months ahead of time (if you’re lucky enough to get one).
Still, not all chef’s tables are highfalutin, wallet-busting extravagances. The Chicago Pizza Club recently sat some of its members at the chef’s table at La Madia, where for a measly $25 (that’s, like, half our cable bill!) they were treated to:
• Locally grown cantelope melon and prosciutto di Parma, served with Pisoni, Lucy, Rosé of Pinot Noir ‘07
• Toasted bruschetta of wild mushrooms & sweet onions (recipe)
• Heirloom Beet Salad, with watercress, salt-roasted almonds, & Gorgonzola, served with Cambria, Chardonnay ‘05
• Shaved artichoke pizza with Reggiano Parmesan & garlic
• Diver Sea Scallops with fingerling potatoes & sweet corn, served with Roco, Pinot Noir ‘05
• Triple pepperoni pizza
• Chocolate Tortino, served with Lindemans Framboise Lambic Ale
Honestly the whole blog entry (plus the accompanying comments) reads so outrageously positive about the experience that our shill-radar was going off almost the entire time. But we’re inclined to grant La Madia the benefit of the doubt: The River North quasi-newcomer (it’s less than a year old) has the pedigree to back it up, since the guy behind it all, Jonathan Fox, used to be COO at Maggiano’s Little Italy. Presumably the dude knows what he’s doing.
[Photo: La Madia’s Shaved Artichoke, Reggiano Parmesan & Garlic Pizza, via the Flickr of perhaps Chicago’s best food photographer, Zesmerelda]