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A Pork Feast At Tete's Choucroute Dinner Series

By Melissa McEwen in Food on Sep 30, 2014 3:00PM

Earlier this month we attended the second of TÊTE Charcuterie’s Late Night Choucroute dinner series. The dinner series takes a single pig and gives half to TÊTE’s own Chefs Thomas Rice and Kurt Guzowski and half to another chef. This month the second half of the pig was given to Jimmy Papadopoulos of Bohemian House and his team.

Guests trickled in around 9 p.m, but the chefs were still working in the kitchen and eager diners watched them plate the beautifully crafted dishes. I admit it was hard to be hungry at this late hour. I had to eat a late breakfast and lunch to avoid the temptation to eat beforehand. But it was worth it.

Soon the kitchen table was lined with a cornucopia of tantalizing pork delights. I watched a garlic sausage porchetta carefully anointed with a jus, a rich savory sauce made with the juices from the dish and then adorned with sauerkraut.

For the uninitiated “choucroute” actually means sauerkraut in French. It is the perfect foil to balance out the fattiness of good pork. Its acidity adds a welcome brightness and the bacteria from fermentation may even help digest a lavish meal. And we needed all the help we could get.

After a short toasts with the chefs we lined up to cover our plates with a bounty of food. I made a beeline to the croquettes from the TÊTE team, which were made with pork rillettes breaded and fried and served with a picholine olive tapenade. The chefs from Bohemian House turned the other half of the pig’s head into a Hungarian-style cured charcuterie with rye, radish, and baby collard greens.

But it wasn’t just pork, there were plenty of farm fresh vegetables in abundance as well. One of the stand-out dishes was Bohemian House’s creamed corn with fried bread crumbs and summer truffles, which was pork-free. Another delicious vegetable dish was TÊTE’s late summer salad, made with shaved kohlrabi, breakfast radishes, pickled gooseberries, and with a creamy sweet and sour dill dressing.

To drink we had a selection of two wines or two beers. One of my only complaints about the night was that these were not exactly generously refilled. But it was a school night after all, which might also keep some people away from these dinners. Somehow I still managed to be in bed by midnight. And I slept damn well.

No we did not get dessert. Nor did we need it.

TÊTE told me their next Late Night Choucroute will be on Oct. 16 and the guest chef will be Scott Walton from Howells and Hood. Call TÊTE Charcuterie (1114 W. Randolph St.) at 312-733-1178 for more information and reservations.