Unfortunately, Tête Charcuterie is now permanently closed. If you’d care to peruse what it was like when it was open, keep reading my review below.
Food made by paleo foodies for paleo foodies. Now where have we seen that before? ;)
1114 West Randolph Street, Chicago IL 60607
Part of the paleo diet includes consuming nutrient-dense foods. And that includes consuming those foods even when we eat out. :)
Jeff & I typically choose a burger joint when I’m not cooking, to keep it simple and reduce our amount of choices.
However, we were in the city one night and at that time I was trying to increase our liver and offal consumption, so I did a little research to try and find a Paleo friendly restaurant in Chicago that would focus on nutrient-density. That’s how I came across Tête (pronounced “tet”) Charcuterie.
A Little Education First
If you are not familiar with the word charcuterie, it will make this review slightly difficult to understand, so let me start there.
Charcuterie (pronounced “shar-KYOO-ter-ee”) is a French word and classical technique for preserving foods that date from an era before refrigeration. It is the art of making sausages and other cured, smoked and preserved meats where salt is the main tool used.
Salt draws moisture out of food, which makes it more difficult for bacteria to thrive, and it also draws water out of the bacteria themselves, which kills them.
In addition to sausages, classic charcuterie also includes items such as pâtés and terrines plus other techniques for preserving meat.
Pâté is a spreadable paste made from a mixture of cooked ground meat and fat mixed with vegetables, herbs, spices and typically some source of wine or brandy.
A terrine is a pâté in loaf form. It is made with more coarsely chopped ingredients and served cold or at room temperature.
Founded By A Paleo Foodie
We spoke to Daniel Goodman, General Manager and one of the partners of Tête Charcuterie, who is a cross-fitter and into paleo. When Tête was in the planning stages of creation, he said one of their goals was to create gluten-free, paleo-friendly charcuterie and pâtés.
If you didn’t already know, these dishes typically are served on some kind of bread and prepared with some type of grain as one of the ingredients.
But that’s not necessarily the case at Tête and that’s the whole reason I wanted to go. I was super excited to try their pâtés and terrines. And let me tell you, they did not disappoint!
Don’t Forget The Bacon
They also have a great selection of cured meats which you can see a sampling of above. All of which they make in house!
When we were talking to Daniel, we mentioned we had a paleo food blog and he immediately asked if we had tried the bacon.
When the cured meat plate was brought out, I listened to our waiter point out everything on the plate, but instantly forgot, so I honestly wasn’t sure if we had tried the bacon. He then brought out a serving of their house-made bacon for us to try. Needless to say, it was really good! (Bacon shown below in the bottom right.)
The Best Pork Belly, So Far
Problem is portion size and cost will differ from one place to the next and when you compare the cost in a restaurant to preparing it at home, there’s quite a vast difference.
Dave then said something along the lines of “there is no limit to the amount of pork belly I can eat” and we decided to take that as a challenge.
After the three of us devoured two servings of pork belly and our entire meal, we ordered another serving of pork belly for dessert (we had to end on a #porkyporkpork note). And after 3 servings of that fatty deliciousness, we definitely met our limit proving that fat can definitely keep you full.
Our Dinner Order
Like avec (another restaurant we highly recommend), at Tête you order small and large plates that are served tapas style, so you can share several different dishes with your entire party.
After the House Charcuterie, we enjoyed the roast duck with charred eggplant purée, Tokyo turnips, roasted figs, and Five Spice.
Come for the Meat. Stay for the Vegetables.
Although the main reason we chose to come to Tête was for the charcuterie, our friend La Toia, who doesn’t eat meat, also had plenty of choices. Her main entree was broccoli rasoio. Razor shaped goat milk ricotta and broccoli pasta, chanterelle mushrooms and broccoli creme (bottom left in the image below). She said it was amazing.
We ordered the heirloom tomato terrine salad for the table, (shown top left) and it was beyond delicious!
We also shared the fried okra (bottom right) and The Garden Vegetable Plate (top right).
I don’t often rave about vegetable dishes because I think some restaurants tend to forget about them, but not only has Tête nailed the meat dishes, all the veggie dishes were fantastic!
More specifically, the vegetable plate was absolutely amazing! There were about 20 different vegetables in the dish and each vegetable was cooked using a different method and brought together in a gorgeous presentation that we were able to watch, since they don’t hide where the chef’s prepare your meal.
Early Bird Gets The Worm
We got to the restaurant near the early end of dinner, so there were not many others when we arrived. That meant we got to pick wherever we wanted to sit. You may want to call ahead or make reservations, especially if you have a larger party.
We decided to sit as close to the chef’s area as possible, and I highly recommend you do the same, if you can. The restaurant has an open layout but the best seat in the house is the one where you can sit and watch them prepare all your food.
As I mentioned earlier, we got to also meet one of the partners, which was fun hearing a little about development of the restaurant. In that conversation, he told us Tête Charcuterie had been three years in the making.
Not only have they nailed the grain-free pâté and terrine recipes, they’re also in a great location right on restaurant row (aka Randolph Street). Tête sources locally and their menu changes with the seasons so if you don’t spot the items we mentioned above when you go, no worries, because you’ll always have fresh dishes to choose from.
Next time you’re looking for a place to dine in Chicago, we highly recommend Tête Charcuterie.
1114 West Randolph Street, Chicago IL 60607