Fulton Market Kitchen Welcomes New Executive Chef
Eat. Drink. Art.
These are the keys to the continuing success of Fulton Market Kitchen (FMK) located at 311 North Sangamon in the Fulton Market District. Building on two years of success, they have just welcomed Chef Chris Curren as their new executive chef. Formerly with Seven Lions and Homestead, among many others, Chef Curren brings a fresh, new energy to the superb experience at FMK.
“I believe Chef Chris’ creative style in the kitchen aligns perfectly with FMK’s goal of providing guests with a unique, comfortable, elevated dining experience unlike any other. We’re very excited to welcome him into the family as we turn the page on another year and can't wait for our guests to try his cuisine,” said Fulton Market Kitchen’s owner, Daniel Alonso.
I was recently invited to stop by FMK to sample the new menu. Chef Curren has curated an interesting yet approachable variety of dishes that are not a major departure from earlier FMK menus, but elevate the menu and offer bold new choices.
On my visit, I sampled three of Chef Curren’s new small plate offerings. The Roasted Acorn Squash (shallot, brown sugar, olive oil) and Burrata (pine nut pesto, apple saba, olive oil) are superb options for anyone, but particularly for any vegetarian in your party. The Burrata stands out due to the intriguing combination of tart apples and savory pesto. I also sampled the Crispy Octopus (confit potatoes, marinated olives). This one was also excellent. The octopus was fork tender and delicately seasoned. If you are one of those people who thing that octopus is chewy and tough, try this one and you will change your mind.
For entrée, I tried the Tuna – seared ahi tuna served with smoked beef, sweet and sour beef jus, and crème fraiche. Chef Curren has crafted a totally unique preparation for this tuna. I love tuna, and this was perfectly prepared. The combination of smoked beef is intriguing enough, but add the inventive sweet and sour sauce and the whole dish becomes something very special.
By the time dessert rolled around, I was far too full to order but was sorely tempted by the Doughnut Affogato, Mr. Robato (classic glazed beignets, coffee affogato). The suggested pairing for this dessert was the Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac. On my next trip, this is a “must try” dessert and pairing!
Check out their FULL MENU for a peek at some of their other excellent options.
FMK offers an impressive spirit list that boasts upward of 400 bottles with a special focus on hand-selected barrels, limited allocations, and rare vintages. Bar manager Jess Keene (Barrelhouse Flat, The Drifter) has created an eclectic compilation to showcase all possible flavor profiles and her fascinating offerings are guaranteed to speak to every palate.
Their hand-selected wine list highlights unique yet approachable varietals coupled with an exquisite balance between Old World and New World, and to round off their beverage program they have provided a rousing and quirky selection of season-appropriate beers that are produced by leaders in the craft beer community.
One of the most unique aspects of an experience at FMK is their 5X5 Artist Residency program. The décor and atmosphere are already funky, urban, and eclectic. In fact, were someone to ask me for a Chicago recommendation that involved hip-urban-funky this would be my first choice. Making the experience even more distinctive, however, is their artist residency program. According to FMK:
“At Fulton Market Kitchen our hope is to create an entertainment experience that provides guests with the opportunity to simultaneously indulge their passions for dining, drinking, and art. To that end, every week a different artist transforms our lounge space into their personal studio, allowing guests to observe, engage, and draw inspiration from their creative process; all while enjoying dinner and cocktails. All artist work is available to purchase upon completion.”
This is one of the most ambitious and intriguing concepts I have seen in a long while. My suggestion is to check out their resident artist schedule, make a reservation, have a cocktail while interacting with the artist, then indulge in the amazing new menu. If you’re still in the mood (which you should be), stick around for a post-prandial cocktail and enjoy more interaction with the artist. When you post on social media about the 5X5 Artist Residency program, use the hashtag: #FMK5X5.
If you have any doubt about the quirky, fun vibe at FMK, here’s the “disclaimer” at the bottom of their menu:
“The consumption of raw or undercooked food, drinking alcohol, late nights, fast cars, or playing cards with a man named ‘Doc’ can all lead to sickness and possible death. That said, we will all die eventually. Have fun while it lasts.”
Enough said! See you at FMK for EAT.DRINK.ART!
Fulton Market Kitchen is located at 311 N. Sangamon St, Chicago, IL 60607. They are open Monday-Friday, 5 p.m. – 2 a.m. and Saturday, 5 p.m. – 3 a.m., closed on Sundays. You can reach FMK at 312.733.6900. For more information, visit their website. Follow their social media conversations on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Photos by Kailley Lindman