Our elaborate rouse to get Meg to the chef's house for dinner was that she was going to attend an event for the production of The Doppelganger and its cast including Rainn Wilson from The Office. The look on her face was priceless when she was greeted by two men wearing aprons who wished her a happy birthday.
While our party was the chefs' first client dinner in their home, we were treated to a lovely experience from the moment we walked in the door. Their hospitality was truly on par with that of a high-end restaurant yet in a far more relaxed setting complete with candlelight and dinner at their farmhouse table.
The birthday girl with her chefs for the evening:
I'll note that the guys said they could wear their chefs jackets if we preferred and they often do. However, we did not request the chefs jackets. Do you blame us?
Our menu for the evening.
The Nude Dude Food guys, who are self taught chefs and have been friends since high school, will customize any menu for your event including a variety of special diets. We all brought wine and I brought a 2015 Yamhill Valley Oregon pinot that I found at Vin.
Now for the food:
The first bite of the evening was their homemade sourdough bread with herbed butter. If you follow them on social media (and you should) then you've likely seen this. I was super psyched to try it. Plus, check out the butter. If you've traveled with me overseas you know I stock up on European butter for the duration of the trip. I inquired about their starter which is around three years old - making the bread that much better.
The second small bite was crostini with homemade ricotta, roasted brussels and drizzled with honey. This was my second favorite bite of the night.
The aloo samosas were the highlight of the meal. The cilantro/mint chutney and tamarind chutney were bright, fresh and authentic. The samosas were crispy and doughy and I'm wondering if the NDF guys would consider a take out or delivery option. Considering this was a trial run of the samosas, I'd say they hit it out of the park.
Then we had the "Nonya-style" flank steak or grandmother-style in Malaysia. The marinade consisted of oyster sauce, soy, garlic and anise seed and was served with a coconut milk and palm sugar sweet and sour sauce, seasoned with fish sauce.
I was dreaming of this the following day. I would have slathered two sourdough slices with the herbed butter added the leftovers of this dish and created a Malaysian beef sandwich.
Then we were served the crack shrimp served with an Urfa Biber chili remoulade. Named for the unique spice blend that was created by a family friend the chefs. You can buy it here -- which I plan to do soon. Urfa Biber is a Turkish pepper that is left to dry in the sun and covered with plastic wrap at night in order to retain its natural moisture and oil. I hadn't tried this before so I was excited to try something new.
The final course:
We sat at the farmhouse table surrounded by a wall of kitchenware and were served the main course of farro and grilled vegetables and Puerto Rican chicken. The chicken is first dry brined in spices, grilled and also basted with annatto oil. Served with a celery root potato mash and rounded out with a radish and celery root salad.
We spent most of our evening in their living room sitting on the couches, chatting and drinking wine, as if we were in our own home. I'm a sucker for a good fireplace and loved the mantle decorated with Chicago pride and a dozen or more candles that created a warm ambience for us.
(Photo cred: NDF)
If you're looking for a unique private dining experience, no matter where you are in the country, check out the Nude Dude Food guys. The food is fantastic and you'll be in for a fun evening.
With any luck we'll book these guys for all of our upcoming birthday dinners. Surprise party or not.