This week in the Takeout Chronicles we’re taking a look at the takeout and delivery options from the two recent James Beard semifinalist nominated restaurants. Chef Benjamin Maides of Au Courant and Chef David Utterback of Yoshitomo have both introduced new programs since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. I’ve tried both. Here’s my thoughts.
How to order
You can visit this link to place an order for the Au Courant weekend family meal. This weekend’s $55 special is a whole smoked chicken with side of German-style potato salad and a green salad with house made vinaigrette.
There’s also options to get raw pork and beef, along with wine and beer, to go. The specials are takeout only and customers set a time to pick up their fully cooked meal. Customers pull up to the restaurant’s back entrance, off 61st Street, and the staff brings the order to your vehicle. Au Courant is in Benson at 6064 Maple St.
What we got
Last weekend’s special was a giant smoked chicken pot pie. The two of us got three meals from the dish, which was great with a green salad I made at home. For the price, it’s a pretty excellent deal.
How long it took
The Au Courant specials sell out, so I ordered mine on Thursday as soon as the link went live. I suggest if you want one, you do the same. Once we arrived around our pickup time slot, the staff asked for our last name and a few minutes later, we had our pie. When we got home, I baked the pie, which took about an hour.
The affordability of this family meal, much like the restaurant’s regular multiple course price fixed menu, is pretty stunning. I also noted the quality of the ingredients in this pie: the smokiness of the tender chicken, the flavor and texture of the vegetables, the gorgeous pastry that browned to a golden hue once it came out of the oven.
We talked to Ben for a few minutes in the alley behind Au Courant last weekend. He said it took him a minute to figure out what to do after the restaurant had to close, but the main takeaway is this: he had to do something, and fast.
I love the rotating nature of this family special (the first week was lasagna, which I really regret missing.) I love the care that went into the meal, and the comforting nature of all the Au Courant family meals thus far.
Ordering these specials won’t ever be the same as the price fixed experience, or the delight of eating a new version of Chovie’s egg, or sipping on a delicious cocktail while sitting at the restaurant’s busy bar. But Au Courant is cooking the kind of homey food we’re all embracing right now, and the special comes with a good reminder: when you let a chef prepare your homey pot pie, it’s going to be even better.