Za'atar hummus with spinach gremolata, fried feta cheese and a soft-boiled egg is one of the dishes being tested at the upcoming Egg dinner pop-up.
This past January, Lassaad Jeliti opened Egg Midtown (3100 Locust Street, 314-899-0036)
, the second location of his popular daytime cafe, as a way to bring his signature North African-inflected breakfast and lunch fare to a wider audience. Now, he's taking that expansion to a whole new level by adding dinner service to the Midtown restaurant — and as he prepares to launch the evening menu, he's giving diners a sneak peak of what's to come with a pop-up dinner on September 24.
Jeliti has tapped Sharon Harter, the former pastry chef at the Bellwether, and Mason Cooksey, who most recently was pastry chef at Pastaria, to design the menu and execute the pop-up. According to Harter, the idea for dinner service came to Jeliti when he was simply sitting down after work at Egg Midtown, marveling in the space's beauty.
"When he was done working at both Eggs for the day, he'd go to Midtown for some solace at night, have a drink and think about how beautiful it is in there," Harter explains. "He decided that he'd love to open it up for dinner service."
Harter and Jeliti, both Bar Italia alums, have known each other for many years and have developed a mutual respect for each other's work. For that reason, Jeliti has given Harter and Cooksey complete creative control of the menu for Egg's dinner service. Though he gave no specific parameters, the two chefs are using Egg's eastern Mediterranean style as a jumping off point with dishes like Za'atar navy bean hummus with tomato garlic confit, spinach gremolata, fried feta and a soft-boiled egg, purple yam tarte tatin with black garlic, tahini and goat cheese and a short rib miso raviolo soup.
As Harter explains, the purpose of the pop-up is to get feedback from guests about prospective menu items — something that will help to define the opening menu.
"We wanted to try them out as a pop-up so people could taste them and give us feedback," Harter says. "A lot of times, menus have to do with logistics and production that you don't know how they will work until an actual service. This gives us a chance to see that before we open for dinner."
A limited number of tickets remain for the September 24 event. Right now, there are no other R&D pop-ups scheduled, but Harter believes that will change depending on the success of the upcoming one.
"I really think pop-ups, private dinners and those sorts of things are the new way of doing things," Harder says. "If you can hustle in all of this, you will be fine."
For more information and tickets to the September 24 pop-up, visit the Eventbrite here
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