The diver scallop was the first course, and it was a showstopper. Served with with braised pork belly and cauliflower in its classically shaped shell, it sat in a small bowl perched atop a black-slate plate.
It was the first dish at chef Michael Taus's four-course dinner focused on sight, part of the Chicago installment of Feast for the Senses, Infiniti and Eater's six-part dinner series exploring food through the five senses. "The shell itself is just so interesting," said Taus, who hosted the dinner at his Taus Authentic, in Wicker Park. "It's a surprise."
For the meal, the chef looked for dishes that were "texturally, color-wise, and structurally most unique," he said. Some of it was regular dishes from his repertoire, tweaked to be even more visually exciting. "It was very classy, very sophisticated," Taus said.
The second course a cavatelli with duck confit, kohlrabi puree, and trumpet mushrooms. The pasta is whitish, of course, but the colors were vibrant, "a beautiful, bright-green aspargus-kohlrabi puree" atop the dish," Taus said. Plus he scored the trumpet mushrooms with a paring knife, so they appeared to be etched.
A short rib pot-au-feu came next, with root vegetables, tomatoes, and olives. "When you roast the short rib a bit," says the chef, "all the colors come alive," especially from the tomatoes and olives.
Last came dessert, a milk chocolate mousse terrine with bitter chocolate cake, chocolate meringue, and turkish coffee ice cream. Never mind delicious; it was also a range of chocolate colors, with that meringue hidden inside, Taus said, "like a surprise."
Experience the full event in the photos below.
The Feast of the Senses dinner series is inspired by the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD)'s sensory-centric approach to food. Get advance tickets here for MOFAD Lab opening October 28 in Brooklyn.