Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard’s on a whirlwind tour promoting her new cookbook, Girl in the Kitchen: How A Top Chef Cooks, Thinks, Shops, Eats and Drinks. She popped up at retro-licious Mike’s City Diner last night to cook with her pal Jamie Bissonnette, and despite her grueling schedule, Izard appeared perky and well-rested. While Chicago played in the background, Bissonnette and Izard prepared a menu with dueling versions of three main courses: “Fin,” “Pasta,” and “Belly.” Every dish was a winner, even though the two chefs confessed to not coordinating their menus until a couple of days before the big event. Clearly, though, they work best under pressure. The feast kicked off with an appetizer medley; guests loaded their napkins (sadly, there were no plates) with curiosities like beef hearts and Lebanese stuffed mussels. Wine and beer flowed freely, with diners wandering up to the bar to top themselves off. The meal concluded with a coffee gelato sundae and Roxy Music blasting from the speakers. Take a look at some of our favorite plates, straight ahead.
A line of hungry diners snaked down Washington Street awaiting entrance to Mike’s.
The chef-pals, who’ve cooked together at events across the country, were happy to reunite. “Our cooking styles are very similar,” Izard said. (She also admitted that a few of these events were “fuzzier” than others.)
Guests were first treated to a free-for-all appetizer medley that included beef heart and Romesco pinxto, Nantucket Bay scallop ceviche, kibbe naye pinxto, and the big hit of the evening: Lebanese stuffed mussels.
For intrepid eaters, Bissonnette’s hearts were another big hit.
Grub Street’s table concluded that these were the breakout dish of the night.
Island Creek oysters with horseradish aioli and bacon bits; fried oysters with egg salad and crisp capers; oyster escabeche with cranberries and apple; steamed oysters with black bean sauce. Izard loves the fried version; Bissonnette favors the black bean rendition, similiar to what he indulges with in Chinatown after a late night in the kitchen.
Jamie Bissonnette toasts Jay Hajj, who owns Mike’s (and is his landlord at Toro, too).
Jamie Bissonnette’s “Fin” dish married beets with bone marrow.
Izard’s “Fin” effort was fluke tartare with goat sausage, apple, and xo sauce.
Bissonnette whipped up squid ink cavatelli with octopus, clams, and bottarga (left); Izard prepared black pepper fettucini with Sugo, pickled gooseberries, and rosemary vinaigrette.
Izard’s crispy confit goat belly sat atop butternut squash and shiitake kimchee; Bissonnette paired crispy pork belly with green curry snails and spicy sausage.