NOODL Popup: Veneto
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Even if you don’t know Steven Reaume yet, you probably know his work. He’s one of the masterminds behind Grand Trunk Pub, Checker Bar, POP, the Whisky Parlor, and more. Steven’s usually more of a behind-the-scenes guy, making sure things run smoothly and that you’re having a great time. But with NOODL, he takes center stage as executive chef.
NOODL is a popup concept which started back in December 2014. They started out simply pairing handmade pastas and sauces, then later began branching out with homemade sausages and delicious experiments like stewed beef with celery root gnocchi.
NOODL’s latest series celebrates Italian regional cuisine. The first popup in the series, Abruzzo, highlighted dishes from the coastal region east of Rome. Up next is Veneto, and we are really excited about this menu.
Veneto is a northeastern region of Italy. Venice is the capital city and it’s also home to – as Shakespeare called it – fair Verona. Veneto is a region of mountains, Roman military ruins, Medieval basilicas and palatial Palladian villas.
It’s also home to some of the most distinctive cuisines in Italy. You’ll find seafood and braised meats in Venetian homes, and the folks here often prefer gnocchi or polenta over pasta.
Steven takes inspiration from the diverse range of cuisines found in this region, then adds his own delicious twists to the recipe. First up on the bill of fare is caponata, a cooked vegetable salad typically made with eggplant, celery, capers and vinegar. Think of it as eggplant relish (and know that eggplant relish is way more tasty than it may sound). It’s wonderful as a side dish or an appetizer, and pairs particularly well with fish.
There’s also baccala mantecato, a salt cod mousse. It’s a savory, almost creamy dish with a texture that’s light like mashed potatoes.
Tortellini freddo is a cold pasta salad that you really could pair with any of the other dishes on this menu. Tortellini are those stuffed little pastas that look a little like a belly button and taste absolutely wonderful.
The dish we’re already craving the most is Veneto’s agnello polpetta: lamb and pistachio meatballs. It’s a classic middle eastern combination that found its way over to Italy by Turkish and Ottoman merchants.
Save room for a sweet bite at the end of your meal. Veneto is serving creamy tiramisu and panna cotta in jars. Tiramisu originates from the Veneto region.
Expect to spend $5-10 per dish on the a la carte menu. DJs RJ Stefanski and Tyler Yglesias will be spinning the tables all evening.
Veneto pops up inside POP on the second floor of Checker Bar this Thursday, Aug. 27 from 5-10 p.m. For more information, check out their Facebook page.