CHICAGO, IL – October 5, 2015 – Following rave reviews from the Chicago Tribune, Aaron Martinez, Intro’s third chef-in-residence, will hand the reins to Chef Stephen Gillanders, who will launch Intro’s first-ever a la carte menu when he begins his tenure at the restaurant Thursday, October 29.
Gillanders’ cuisine is contemporary, presenting nostalgic flavor combinations and ingredients in innovative ways, with a nod to traditional Asian flavors and techniques as a result of his time spent traveling abroad.. At Intro, Gillanders will collaborate with renowned restaurateur Rich Melman and the Intro team to create a concept reflective of his style, from menu development, music, vibe, server uniforms, décor and style of service.
Gillanders is the very first chef at Intro to offer an a la carte menu since its inception. The menu includes seasonal appetizers such as Baby Artichoke Risotto with Meyer lemon, nishiki and herbs; and Wilted Kale Salad with roasted pepitas, jalapeño and cotija. Mains include the Black Truffle Salmon served with cauliflower variations; Parmesan Chicken with tomato basil butter and orzotto; and Sea Scallops with brown butter dashi and maitake. Larger plates are also available for sharing, such as Kampachi Sashimi with black sesame ponzu, avocado, and crunchy rice; and Tuna Tataki with kaffir lime, Thai basil, and shallot cracklings. For a sweet ending, guests can opt for the Cheesecake Brûléewith fresh pineapple jam, or the Banana Cake with bourbon caramel cream, among others.
“The menu really is a culmination of everywhere I have been,” he says, citing inspirations during his time spent in countries such as Japan, Vietnam, China, South Korea and the Philippines. Gillanders plays with the familiar and invokes his own interpretation of classic Asian flavors and dishes, including a refined take on beef and broccoli. “I realized that just because you become inspired by something doesn’t mean you need to master it in its exact form,” he says. “Putting your own touch on food can make it more interesting – it makes it more unique and personal.”
Diners will also have the option of choosing the five-course tasting menu ($84), which features highlights from the a la carte menu, including Crab Fritters, served with pickled ginger remoulade and petite crudités; Flatiron Steak with its interpretation of ‘beef & broccoli,’ and Chocolate Cake with “curls & pearls.” Additionally, Intro will continue to offer a weekly vegetarian menu, showcasing products from local farms and farmer’s markets.
The beverage program will evolve constantly, leading with a chef-driven cocktail program. A majority of the bar bases, syrups and infusions will be produced in the kitchen, in order to complement the food as specific pairings, and sourcing local ingredients as much as possible. The wine program will be a small and nimble global list, featuring offerings from artisanal boutique wineries.
Gillanders will cook at Intro through the end of January 2016. For more information, please visit www.introchicago.com.
INTRODUCING THE CHEF
Chef Stephen Gillanders is the fourth chef-in-residence at Intro, Lettuce Entertain You’s award-winning rotating chef restaurant. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Gillanders was the 2004 winner of San Pellegrino’s ‘Almost Famous’ Chef competition. He spent the next decade working with Jean-Georges Vongerichten, most recently as an executive chef with Jean-Georges Management, managing all nine New York City properties and opening nine restaurants with the company around the world, including The Pump Room in Chicago and Jean-Georges in Tokyo.
SCHOOL FOR ENTREPRENEURS
Intro was conceptualized with four goals in mind: to introduce Chicago to new talent, to introduce new chefs to a balanced way of running a business, to introduce the Lettuce kitchen and service staff to up and coming chefs/entrepreneurs, and to introduce Lettuce to new culinary talent. “We see Intro as a true partnership between Lettuce and the chef-in-residence,” said Melman. “They will work with us every step of the way, have a financial partnership stake in the concept they create, and if they go on to open a restaurant of their own, they will have Lettuce senior partners as consultants.”
Intro is located at 2300 N. Lincoln Park West, Chicago, IL. Intro is closed Sunday and Monday, open for dinner Tuesday – Thursday from 5:00 PM–9:30 PM, and Friday – Saturday from 5:00 PM–10:00 PM. Reservations can be secured on www.IntroChicago.com, OpenTable.com or by calling the restaurant. A limited number of reservations for the tasting menu are available through deposit-required reservations on Tock; please visit www.IntroChicago.com for more details. The price point for Gillanders’ menu for the tasting menu will be $84 (excluding tax and gratuity), with a corresponding wine tasting for $50. A la carte pricing will vary from $12–$16 for small plates and appetizers, and $28–$32 for main entrees. For news, events, ticket availabilities and menu changes, guests can follow Intro’s social media (@IntroChicago). For additional questions or to make reservations, please call 773-868-0002.