Yardbird Midnight Chef's Table Series with Michael Laukert

Friday night we skipped dinner and saved our appetite for Yardbird's Midnight Chef's Table Series, which featured Chef Michael Laukert of Hundred Acre Wine Group. The series invites chefs to collaborate with 50 Eggs culinary director Clayton Millier to create a four-course meal.

Short Order was invited to attend and get taste of the collaboration over the weekend. Pictures after the jump.

See also: MAKIN IT Dinner Series Debuts in Miami with Chef Micah Edelstein and Painter Peter Hosfeld

Michael Laukert racks up more than 25 years of culinary experience, from chef and food consultant to author of One True Vine: A Journal of Food, Wine, and Life. His ultimate goal is creating memories that revolve around and stem from food and indulging in a great meal. As he told us at the end of our dinner "now you'll go home, but each and every one of you will have this memory forever. It's more than just dinner." Indeed it was.

Dinner was paired with Hundred Acre's award-winning wines. Attendees celebrated the strike of midnight and their arrival by starting the night (or day) with an old fashioned. Not just your average old fashioned. This rendition of the classic cocktail was made with Duke, bourbon made using John Wayne's 40-year-old recipe. We got an exclusive preview of the spirit and, we must say, it was pleasantly palatable.

For the first course, Laukert thinly shaved fennel with onions, fava beans, toasted pistachios, local honey, and nut oil dressing. A representation of embracing springtime and Napa Valley, it was a simple and light dish filled with refreshing flavors.

Miller was responsible for the second course and opted to go the carnivore route. A "beef duo" ground beef sirloin tartare with house ketchup, red onion, tomatillo and egg yolk was a standout, and easily one of the best renditions of tartare I've ever had.

Smoked and roasted bone marrow was succulent and fatty, as it should be. Served alongside an onion jam and some toast, all three combined made for a perfect bite.

Rather than your typical sides, dishes were accompanied by deviled eggs, pickled carrots and pickled green beans. You can never go wrong with Yardbird's deviled eggs.

When you think Bolognese, chances are you think meat and heavy tomato sauce. Laukert's gulf prawn Bolognese, however, uses gulf prawns in a delicate broth. The prawns are cuddled in penne and drowned in an herbed marinara sauce that's gentle but bursting with flavor. Altogether, the dish was a surprising departure from anything we're used to.

Pastry chef Daniela Pardo took care of dessert, cooking up a Dutch oven strawberry rhubarb cobbler with vanilla Chantilly.

And because one dessert is never enough, a bacon butterscotch triple layer cake with pecan pie filling was another option. The night ended on a sweet and strong note: Bacon, butterscotch, and a neat serving of The Duke.

Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha

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