Behind the Scenes of Cotton Duck

The Behind the Scenes series entails insight from behind the chef’s counter and a restaurant’s outlook of its past, present, and future. 

Nestled right off of Damen Ave, it’s no surprise this new concept is flourishing via word of mouth. Ukrainian Village’s newest gem, Cotton Duck has been delivering nothing short of spectacular dishes since day one. CD is a BYOB hybrid offering contemporary American styled comfort food with modernist execution. Basing the menu around its rotating debuted artwork, CD is constantly evolving. Whether your wanting something sweet, savory, heavy, or light, there is an array of items to choose from to capture any type of craving you have (brunch or dinner).

Before I hand over the reins to CD’s crew, check out my list of brunch MUSTS :

Dry-Aged Burger

Um if you DON’T try this item, you’re nuts- I mean look at it. Now I will warn you, don’t expect a typical cheesburger feel for this item. Sure, it’s oozy and scrumptious, but this burger is a must more sophisticated version from the normal. Topped with smoked gouda with black garlic aioli, and onion jam, this brunch item doesn’t skimp on flavor.

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Egg White Frittata

Made with the most fluffiest egg whites (my favorite), this was hands down my favorite brunch item on the menu. Although I make a version of this at home for myself, CD’s clearly blew any frittata I’ve made out of the water. Mixed with maitake mushrooms, goat cheese, and rapini, this dish was so simple and satisfying that I didn’t even need an extra protein (truly!).

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Duck Confit Hash

Being obsessed with any type of squash and especially whenever I see a dish made out of butternut squash instead of a potato (at any time of the year), it’s a known fact that it will be ordered. This instance was no different. Topped with a velvety poached egg, the rich and flavorful duck hash was so good, it left me and my hubs-to-be speechless. If you want something on the heavier side with a boat load of flavor, this dish is the way to go.

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Where did the concept originate from?

The concept originated when Dominic and Cecilia met four years ago in Lake Forest. Dominic was the executive chef at a restaurant down the street from Cecilia’s Art Gallery. They began working together to cater food for the gallery openings and the conversation began about creating food to match the exhibit for the gallery, once the idea became more clear, the concept grew into a plan and eventually a reality-which is now the Cotton Duck.

How has Cotton Duck been received by the neighborhood?

The neighborhood has been extremely supportive of us. It has been amazing to meet our neighbors and receive such positive feedback about what we are doing. We have always felt strongly about the importance of support from your immediate neighborhood and community has on small business, and feel very blessed to have been so well-received.

What has been the biggest struggle opening?

There were a few “that’s life” moments where a combination of timing simply didn’t work out with our schedule, we planned to open exactly 30 days from when we took over the space, unfortunately we were delayed about two weeks from that – so I think our biggest struggle was accepting that, although we had a schedule, the city and other elements don’t necessarily work on our schedule.

Is there something you would have done differently?

Added more hand sinks. ALWAYS ADD MORE HANDSINKS

Is there a menu item that has been a crowd favorite so far?

With our menu changing every three months, there has been a lot of favorites on both so far, but I think our dry-aged burger has became a mainstay on the brunch menu-it’s also available on Friday for take-out service.

How often are menus rotated?

Every 3 months, same with artwork

Where are ingredients sourced from?

We always try to source locally whenever possible but we are heavily dependent on seasonality of the ingredients on each of the menus.

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