David Hammond

March 18, 2022


Leaving town for country

Excerpt: Read the entire article here

It’s Saturday night, and we’re sitting directly in front of the blazing hearth, the warm, bright heart of the exposed kitchen at The Graceful Ordinary. This restaurant opened in St. Charles late last year under the leadership of Chef Chris Curren (Blue 13, Fulton Market Kitchen, Homestead on the Roof, and other Chicago restaurants) and his wife, Megan.

Chef Curren is turning out spectacular dishes at his new place. We were knocked out by the Tuna Conserva, a plate of lush red knobs of fish, accented with swirls of avocado paste, puffed black rice and peanuts, a fabulous-looking and tasting starter. One of the most popular dishes in the restaurant, the Octopus Carpaccio, is thin strips of the sea creature, dotted with clusters of lemon purée, pickled mustard seeds and chili oil. Despite all the flavors going on, the octopus holds its own in a dish that is anything but ordinary. And before you ask, an “ordinary” is an early American term for a community-focused bar.

Photo by Matt Reeves