Don’t call it Danish.
In a sit-down interview for FSR magazine with Chefs David and Anna Posey of Elske, their first restaurant and the newest addition to food-focused West Randolph St., Anna tells me how she was a little disappointed they were slightly “pigeonholed” by some media outlets into that category right out of the gates.
Sure, there’s some Danish inspiration given David’s heritage (his mom is Danish), and his love of the country and its simple and fresh, yet refined cuisine. And, yes, Elske means “love” or “warmth” in Danish. But that’s not the end to the story.
Theirs – in my view – is more of a modern interpretation of modernism cuisine – the Poseys have dialed down a version of “molecular gastronomy” to the point where it’s not that crazy scene with liquid nitrogen and agar agar flying around everywhere turning food into something it’s not. Still, they’re not afraid to dehydrate ingredients into powders to offer extra flavor and texture or throw everything in the wood hearth oven for a bit and really play with what we might view as basic ingredients like sauerkraut and buckwheat in more inventive ways that make sense on the plate. Their approach really adds a level of elegance to simpler dishes, at least on paper – case in point: there are scrambled eggs on the menu but they are delicate, soft-scrambled eggs paired with chicken thigh and carrots slow roasted in the wood hearth and extra crisped up skin and shaved raw carrot for crunch.
“It’s more about picking one or two ingredients and really playing those up,” says Anna Posey.
So, not a huge departure from the inventive, beautiful cuisine she and David presented at Publican and Blackbird, respectively.
At a soft opening, we enjoyed just a few bites of their food – a little rectangle of super creamy, duck liver tart layered atop a crunchy buckwheat flour crust topped with a little bright green, dried parsley powder like a festive holiday horsd’eouve to warm us up while the December temps continued to drop outside.
There’s so much more to this story but I have to save it for my article that’s of course not due out until May! (I’m working ahead in preparation for Baby No. 2 coming late Jan). So stay tuned but in the meantime, I’ll try to get back there for a full dinner. Can’t wait.