Moscow Good Food Club – Chicago Prime

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The aim of the Moscow Good Food Club is not only to visit new restaurants in our adopted city but also to return to well-established institutions that have built credible reputations for their services and quality. It was therefore with great expectations that august members of the Moscow Good Food Club made their way through the hallowed doors (and up the escalator) to Chicago Prime Steakhouse & Bar.

I don’t believe that this was a first time for any of us at Chicago Prime, but we all entered on this occasion as restaurant critics, so we monitored our reactions closely. I remember the first time that I rode that escalator and was greeted by the wide smile of the lovely hostess. We all noted that this tradition has continued from the early days of Chicago Prime. A big smile and a warm welcome create a great start to a culinary experience.

As our members arrived we were offered a choice of cocktails, each freshly prepared for us, refills were also proffered and gratefully accepted, creating the warm ambience that we much appreciate from Chicago Prime. After talking to old friends and making some new acquaintances, it was time to take to our tables, excited at the prospects of the special menu created by Executive Chef Igor Korneev just for the Moscow Good Food Club.

The starter of Salmon Tartar with scallop, pineapple, melon and kiwi was a bold and creative dish designed to prepare us for more food experience during the meal. Healthy portions of this tartar were succulent, refreshing and the rather unique combinations were perfectly suited to a warm summer evening. A light and fruity Geyser Peak Chardonnay from Alexander Valley, USA, accompanied this dish. This was an excellent pairing with both the dish and the wine complimenting each other superbly.

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This was followed by the Watermelon Caprese with Balsamic Onions, buffalo mozzarella and basil. The initial observation was of a vast and multi-coloured skyscraper of cheese and watermelon. The presentation was rather ‘masculine’ and could have been subtler, however the mixture of the flavours of the mozzarella and watermelon were compelling and so well compromised by the balsamic onions. All agreed, after their initial surprise that this was an amazing dish again suited to the warm evening. The Cote de Provence Rose from France did its best to compliment the refreshing tastes but maybe this delicate wine was slightly overpowered by the melon/cheese/onion concoction.

At this point we were given a little time to reflect on our surroundings, our dinner partners and of course the service. As one has to come to expect from Chicago Prime the service was perfect. Professional yet friendly with the waiters often joking (in perfect English) with the guests at the tables. Such an achievement in a city where service is regrettably either poor or hostile or both! Chicago Prime has found wonderful staff and they really help any meal to be a more than enjoyable experience.

No visit to Chicago Prime would be complete without it’s award winning beef, and members of the Moscow Good Food Club were not disappointed when the Grilled Beef Filet with Asparagus, Kamchatka Crab and Béarnaise sauce were served. The steaks were grilled to absolute perfection and beautifully highlighted by the light and delicate Kamchatka crab. The Béarnaise sauce, whilst excellent was thought by many to have been rather too powerful for the crab and possibly should have been serviced on the side. The asparagus was fresh and crispy providing a refreshing balance to the meat/crab combination. The main course was paired with a superb Geyser Peak Merlot, again from Alexander Valley, USA. A bold, multi-flavoured wine that in turn brought out the perfect combinations of the meat and crab. An excellent and most enjoyable choice!

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The desert was also of skyscraper size. Daintily described as a Raspberry Feuilette, this was a veritable tower of a dessert and had many reaching to their waistlines. However on tasting we found that this was light, exquisitely flavoured and delicate. Perfectly paired with a delicious Les Premieres Grives, dessert wine from France this was a perfect end to a perfect meal.

Full and more than satisfied by the achievements of Executive Chef Igor Korneev, our courageous members relaxed and prepared their critiques which are an essential part of the Moscow Good Food Club gatherings. All diners have different priorities and preferences and we provide an opportunity to learn from each other. One will say, ‘I don’t like this or that’ and another will reply ‘but consider the mix of the ingredients and the pairing of the wine’, discussions continue and then the table spokespeople and asked to present their table’s opinion.

Completely full and satisfied after an amazing meal, some members decided to take their leave. Others remembered the excellent cocktail bar and were rumoured to have been there until the wee hours. Congratulations to the management and staff of Chicago Prime. Ken Frost and his team organised a most enjoyable evening of superb, food and wine with amazing service. Chef Igor Korneev and his team in the kitchen prepared an amazing meal that tantalised our taste buds and left us all happy & most satisfied, keeping alive the tradition of Good Food, Good Wine and especially Good Company!

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As always at the Moscow Good Food Club we asked our, by then, slightly inebriated members to comment on some questions posed for them. This evening the subject was ‘Moscow enjoys a thriving and multi-cultural expat community with a range of Business and Social organisations/clubs. Is anything missing? What expat groups/clubs/organisations would you like to see emerge.’
Asking such questions at the end of a superb dinner accompanied by cocktails and wines generally brings some ‘entertaining’ replies and this evening was no exception. Suggestions included: A Russian cookery club, an outdoor hiking club, an expat tennis club, a non-wives club(!), an honourable cider society, an expat baby club (we guessed that parents are allowed), a juggling club, a beekeeping and gardening club. One learned member lectured us that we need a Good Food Club and was gently reminded by his wife that we already have one! On receiving this correction he stated that the Moscow Good Food Club should get bigger and greater.

Long live the Moscow Good Food Club!