Gemuse Gimlet – Death’s Door Gin, Fresh Line Sour, Ginger, Celery, Hefeweisen
General Tso’s Sweetbreads – wood roasted shishito peppers, pickled daikon, pea tendril
Warm Brandade – pickled red melrose, charred cippollini relish, beef fat chips
Roasted Blue Crab Dip – artichoke relish, housemade pain d’epi
Stuffed Pretzel – beer cheese
Choucroute – duck confit, house garlic sausage, fresh bacon, confit red potatoes, sauerkraut, caraway pickled apple
Cookie Dough – fernet chocolate chips, egg custard ice cream, mint, chocolate cremeux, cookie powder
Fruit Loop Donut – lemongrass buttermilk sorbet, guava puree, lychee, freeze dried strawberry and grapefruit powder, coconut
Chocolate sourdough pudding – strawberry water gelee, strawberry air, gingersnap, chocolate syrup, fried strawberry, orange blossom gelato
Moscato d’Asti D.O.C.G
Originally slotted as a late night Saturday stop for four only to be replaced last minute by a trip to The Promontory it was perhaps fate that led me and a friend to our seat at Dusek’s on Sunday night, the “Sunday Noodles” menu at Takashi not particularly interesting when we’d originally planned to partake in some of the chef’s more esoteric options that are apparently only offered on other nights of the week. Located in Pilsen and accessed best by Uber it was just after 6:45 that my buddy and I crossed the threshold of the reinvented space and quickly seated at a charming two-top near the windows farthest from the noise it would not be long before our server stopped by, the beercentric menu of mostly sharable plates described at great lengths with a resultant 8 plate order plus a trio of beverages coursed out just as requested, the timing and presentation of all but one item on par with that of Michelin Starred restaurants despite the otherwise relaxed atmosphere. Truly a restaurant where adventurous palates are rewarded for their efforts it was with a sizeable plate strewn with three spicy sweetbreads that our meal began and with the offal impeccably tender beneath crispy coating we subsequently rolled into a duo of spreads, the potato and salt cod composition a reference standard with housemade crisps while the cheesy crab found levity in tender artichokes that worked nicely with whole wheat bread. Admittedly a bit underwhelmed by a pretzel that I felt could use a bit more salt our savories soon culminated with a large plate of mixed meats and utilizing the combination of ‘kraut and pickled apple to cleanse the palate between bites one would be hard pressed to select a ‘best’ amongst the three – a similar circumstance arising amongst the trio of desserts where only the fact that we were not informed that the lychee was still ‘shell-on’ prevented everything from being perfect, a single bitter bite rectified by striking the “froot loop donut” from our bill and sweetening the deal with free glasses of Moscato to pair with two puddings that no one should miss, the ‘cookie dough’ particularly enthralling with textures galore and the fernet chips melding beautifully with the mint and egg custard into a sort of coffee-tinged note than lingered on the palate for nearly the whole ride home.
RECOMMENDED: Brandade, Blue Crab Dip, Choucroute, Cookie Dough, Chococolate Sourdough Pudding.
AVOID: The Stuffed Pretzel was simply okay while everything else shined.
TIP: Offering up brunch on the weekend with several of the menu items also available in the hopping Punch House downstairs Dusek’s is a reason in and of itself to trek down to Pilsen, the general lack of CTA service be damned – with prices this low for food this good even those who dislike paying for transportation as much as myself can justify a Lyft, Uber, or cab to check the place out.