Photo: Justin miller
Remember the stir when, in 1987, a young whippersnapper named Charlie Trotter opened a restaurant with high ambitions when he was still in his mid-20s? Well, these guys don’t.
Chikoo Patel, Max Mora, and Anthony Scardino are three 22-year-old friends who grew up together in Long Grove in that simpler era before the iPhone and Kim Kardashian. Together, they launched a pop-up restaurant called Under the Table (1307 Chicago Ave., Evanston, no phone available) this past Sunday, offering fine-dining tasting menus at $35 for brunch and $55 for dinner. Tickets will be available for purchase on their website by Friday.
“Max’s background is in the film industry,” Patel says. “I am actually a student at Loyola in Chicago, finishing my senior year. About a year ago started my own real estate investment company and also started investing in Under the Table.”
Scardino, the chef, studied at the homelessness- and poverty-fighting restaurant Inspiration Kitchens in Garfield Park and staged at Au Cheval, Grace, and Blackbird. His opening menu featured oyster shooter; a black bread lobster roll; what sounds to us like a layered terrine of foie gras, spam, beef, and blue-cheese grits; and a pistachio panna cotta with lavender-poached pears.
And actually, Under the Table isn’t the ultimate goal. The trio hopes to build its reputation through the pop-up to fuel their spin on fast-food, Golden Boy, a four-item-menu spot that would serve chicken wings, flash-fried french fries, milkshakes, and sous vide Juicy Lucys. But that may have to wait at least until they can rent cars.