The chalkboard menu at Revival Food Hall’s Danke doesn’t specifically say what species of gore is in the blood paté. But given it appears on a sandwich called the Backyard Dracula, the natural assumption is that it’s human*. The sanguineous sandwich is the October special at the charcuterie bar from the fellows behind Logan Square’s Deutsch-ish Table, Donkey and Stick. One of the few original concepts in the marvelous, sprawling, ever-thronged food hall, Danke features cured meats from chef Scott Manley (formerly of Vie and Blackbird), who—in view of his work at TDS and, more recently, Steadfast—has emerged as one of the most accomplished charcutiers in the city.
Danke’s the ideal spot for happy-hour wine and meat-and-cheese boards, the latter still available all day along with eight sandwiches ranging from grilled cheese to sauerbraten with braised carrots and crushed gingersnaps to mushroom, celery root hummus, and pickled pear to pork country paté and fig mostarda to duck liver mousse and pig’s head.
And there’s a special sandwich each month. October being the time when we celebrate the undead, ergo the Backyard Dracula. It features a generous number of thick paté slabs, roasted purple beets dressed in yogurt, black garlic vinaigrette, and a pickled chicken heart “staked” on top, all served “open casket” on the house sourdough baguette (with a mini candy bar “treat”). Frankly, you could serve tire treads on Danke’s chewy, tangy bread and it would be delicious. And while the collective inkiness of the ingredients absorbs nearly all light, and its full-on iron-rich meatiness may portend impending digestive doom, the sandwich is something I could return to any other time of year.
“The blood is the life,” as the lunatic Renfield says in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. With the Backyard Dracula, Danke has made a sandwich that could sustain both the living and undead.
Danke, Revival Food Hall, 125 S. Clark, dankechicago.com