This Week in Food & Drink: Madison's Nostrano and Underground Food Collective, Key Ingredient bourbon, recent openings, alfresco dining, and more | Bleader

Friday, May 20, 2011

This Week in Food & Drink: Madison's Nostrano and Underground Food Collective, Key Ingredient bourbon, recent openings, alfresco dining, and more

Posted By on 05.20.11 at 01:13 PM

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Whole-wheat pappardelle with lamb ragu at Madisons Nostrano
  • Martha Busse
  • Whole-wheat pappardelle with lamb ragu at Madison's Nostrano
For our annual summer guide, Mike Sula made his way up to Madison, Wisconsin, where expat Chicago chefs Tim and Elizabeth Dahl—former pastry chefs at Blackbird and Boka, respectively—have opened their own place, Nostrano. An Italian-leaning spot in the landmark flatiron Jackman Building on a corner of Capitol Square, it showcases the diversity of southern Wisconsin’s meat, cheese, and vegetable producers in dishes like chicken agnolotti with ramps and Viola-grown oyster mushrooms and a butter lettuce salad with candied olives, radishes, and crumbled blue cheese from nearby Seymour. And then there are Elizabeth’s desserts, sweet reminders that Chicago’s loss is Madison’s gain.

Just off Capitol Square is Underground Kitchen, a brick-and-mortar restaurant from the Underground Food Collective. Longtime caterers and hosts of underground dinners, they’ve also now started making charcuterie sold under the label Underground Meats, which received a $25,000 start-up grant from Wisconsin’s innovative new Specialty Meat Development Center.

In Key Ingredient, City Provisions’ Cleetus Friedman, working with bourbon, makes “drunken ham,” brining it in bourbon, injecting it with bourbon brine, and slow-roasting it with a bourbon-and-mustard glaze. “Bourbon makes everything better,” he said. “Kind of like bacon.” Next up is Marianne Sundquist of In Fine Spirits, challenged with pork cheeks. “They’re very versatile,” Friedman says.

Also in this week’s Reader: Eight new restaurants, among them the revamped Bite Cafe, Taylor Street’s the Original Five BBQ, and Uptown Pie Company, which offers not just sweet but savory pies including lobster shepherd’s pie, Philly cheesesteak pie, and macaroni and cheese pie.

As part of our summer guide, we have listings for 25 notable spots for alfresco dining, plus a guide to exploring Chicago Craft Beer Week, which runs Thursday, May 19, through Friday, May 27.

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