Monday, June 28, 2021

Apolonia in Motor Row Earns Praise from the Tribune

Despite some delays in decorating the restaurant, Apolonia, one of the new highly anticipated restaurants in Motor Row (2201 S. Michigan), earns praise from the Tribune's food critic:
Though not all the details line up yet at Apolonia (decorations in the dining room), after two visits, I felt the kitchen was improving rapidly in real time. Gillanders noted the cucumber-and-watermelon salad has inspired other dishes going on the menu soon, which is genuinely exciting.
The review is a good read if you can access the Tribune behind their paywall.  One thing that got our attention was this description of bread!
Without Apolonia, we wouldn’t be collectively devouring the restaurant’s most popular dish, the black truffle puff bread ($16). Developed by pastry chef Tatum Sinclair, this unusual creation looks like a piece of permanently inflated pita bread.

But its shape comes from the incredibly high hydration level of the dough. I’ve been baking bread for years, and most loaves I work with hover around 70% hydration level, which essentially means that for every 100 grams of flour, there are 70 grams of water.

This one has a hydration level of 110%, a ridiculously high amount of water, which makes the dough sticky and particularly hard to work with. But drop it in bubbling oil, and the dough puffs up dramatically. After a few seconds, it’s finished in the wood-burning oven.

Fresh out of the oven, it’s smeared with funky shaved black truffle and toasted garlic, and then showered with salty Parmesan and fried parsley. Crackly on the outside, but soft and forgiving within, part of me wants to compare this to some platonic ideal of a breadstick — which sounds like a burn, but I mean it in the best way possible. I’d bet most people would stay in just about any room to eat this.

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