Category Archives: Chicago

Sepia, West Loop, Chicago

Wanted to try a New American restaurant I haven’t been to yet, so my friend and I decided to get dinner at Sepia. Reservation was easy to make a few days ahead of time on OpenTable.

They have a diverse wine selection by the glass that sources from all over the world, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the Syrah the waitress recommended, and the Pinot Noir was a bit too earthy as I was thinking of getting some seafood. Not very drawn to the reds, I ended up getting a Cote du Provence Rosé just to not insult the waitress. It was fine, but I am not very discerning when it comes to Rosés.

For a starter, I got the foie gras royale, sour cherry gelée, hazelnuts, brioche. My friend got the sea scallops, grapefruit, parsley, red cooked pigs ears. I was hoping the foie gras would be seared raw pieces but it was a mousse. For me, the liver flavor was most prominent, more so than other foie preparations, but my friend tasted lots of nut flavors. The scallop was seared nicely with ideal texture (not rubbery), though the dish did not taste greater than the sum of its parts. The grapefruit enhanced a slight bitterness in the scallops which was a slight detraction for me.

For the entrée, I ordered the artic char, leeks, preserved cucumbers, pears, brown butter, pecans. Artic char is [basically] a lighter (both in color and flavor) version of salmon. It was cooked medium rare with perfectly crispy skin. No complaints about the fish preparations. The leek was oversalted in my opinion, and the dish had a lot of capers which furthered the sourness/saltiness of the dish. There were a few bites of the leek with cucumber that were quite nice. The pecans and little globes of pear didn’t really add anything to the fish and felt more like side add-ons. My friend got the berkshire pork chop, baby carrots, coffee, cabbage, smoked vanilla. I detected the coffee grounds both by smell and faintly by taste. I didn’t notice the vanilla at all, while my friend smelled vanilla but didn’t notice coffee. This dish was also oversalted (my friend agreed). There was a carrot puree that paired well with the pork chops, but the rest of the vegetables were mostly too salty. The pork chop was cooked medium and very tender.

Overall I was not impressed by the meal, and it is supporting my recent sentiment that 1 Michelin star means very little food-wise. The service was attentive, and the restaurant space is very cool: a Prohibition-era speakeasy feel. The volume was also not too loud and it was easy to carry a conversation. All the food was cooked very adeptly, but it felt more like a hodgepodge of local seasonal ingredients than cohesive, innovative dishes. Perhaps the chef just does not have the same tongue as me, but for the money I hoped for something more exciting.

Lula Cafe [2], Logan Square, Chicago

I came here for brunch two years ago (which I remember being good) but I’ve been meaning to come for the dinner menu for quite a while, since Lula Cafe is one of the originators of Farm-to-Table dining in Chicago. Reservations are rough, but spontaneity led to an 8:30pm OpenTable reservation.

There was a rotating dinner specials menu as well as the cafe menu. The large plates didn’t look so interesting today, so we opted for 4 small plates and 1 large plate. The beet bruschetta and chickpea sweet potato tagine are from the cafe menu.

BEET BRUSCHETTA black kale, smoked pecans, red onion, whipped goat cheese

Four slices of a seedy, whole grain baguette were topped with goat cheese, sliced chilled beets, and a generous heaping of crispy kale. I’m usually not a fan of kale (it’s cheap but bitter and adds no flavor), but here it was in crispy slices mostly for texture, dressed with vinegar to offset the bitterness. The flavor of the beets really came through, and paired well with the goat cheese. One of the best spreads I’ve had.

CRISPY SUNCHOKES gooseberries, chile, trout roe

This caught my eye because I saw Curtis Duffy talking about innovative ways to prepare sunchokes in the For Grace documentary, and I’ve been seeing them in the produce section at Whole Foods (they look kind of like ginger or ginseng). The dish, however, looked nothing like the raw vegetable: the sunchokes had a deep fried exterior and were cut into thick slices to look almost like oysters, with cream and roe in the center. It tasted quite good, and I really liked the texture of the sunchoke: like a creamier, softer version of taro. I look forward to trying to cook it myself (and tasting how different it is from this version).

BLACK RISOTTO baby squid, black trumpet mushroom

Self-descriptive; it’s hard to make a not-delicious risotto, and this one was still delicious. The mushroom flavor came through. Not so novel, but yummy comfort food.

CHICKPEA SWEET POTATO TAGINE green harissa, fennel, pickled golden raisins, grilled bread

By now we were quite full, but this was still delicious. I count it as another comfort food dish, but it was done quite well. The sweet potato added a necessary sweetness and extra flavor to the sauce while the chickpeas gave texture and brought the dish together.

ROASTED LAMB LEG pear, black cardamom, grilled radicchio

I’ve never had radicchio before, and all I can say is it’s really bitter. It was served with a few bacon slices and the grilling helped, but still just really bitter. The lamb leg was very good, juicy and more tender than the legs I’ve made at home so far, but it was not so impressive compared to the previous courses. I feel like with good meat and my new Le Creuset, I’ll be able to make a comparable version at home – and I will!


 

Overall a really pleasant dining experience. The atmosphere/vibe was casual and comfortable, it felt loud at first but the tables were spaced so that there was no trouble carrying a conversation over dinner. Service was impeccable, with just the right level of attentiveness. The food is what farm-to-table food should be: local ingredients made in simple, delicious recipes. It really is like eating in a [skilled cook’s] home. Lula Cafe is an ideal neighborhood restaurant, and given that some of the best dishes were from the cafe menu, it’s a great place to come on a weekday for lunch. I’ll be back for dinner too, of course.

Next | Terroir, West Loop, Chicago

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The meal starts off with an upsell for a chance to add a white truffle risotto to the menu since it’s white truffle season. 6g of white truffle for $125 extra. No thank you, I don’t like truffles enough for this.

The first wines featured are a 2007 Pinot Noir (Domaine François Mikulski, Volnay 1er cru Santenots du Milieu) and a 2009 Chardonnay (Domaine Hubert Lamy St. Aubin, 1er cru Clos de la Châtenière) from Burgundy, France, where the concept of terroir all started. The wine was paired with a large assortment of amuse-bouches, the most memorable being a crostini with nasturtium and parmesan (the parmesan was very noticeable), and a cone shaped bite of caramelized onion with chicken skin and heart. The chicken heart was made into a mousse so the flavor was there without any of the tough texture. The Chardonnay had a lot more depth than the ones I’ve had previously. I enjoyed the Pinot Noir though I wished there was more of it to pair with other foods.

Whipped honey and prosciutto. #nextterrior

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Flaxseed, cabbage, beer. #nextrestaurant #nextterroir

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Next came three different Chenin Blancs from Loire, France 2014, Santa Ynez, California 2013, Swartland, South Africa 2013. The same grapes from three different regions to showcase terroir. The Loire was sweetest, while the Santa Ynez was just kind of mild (my least favorite), and the Swartland tasted like it had a bit more depth and complexity in flavor. The food pairing was sturgeon with scallions and iterations of peanut. There were crispy peanuts, and a more buttery peanut which was almost like a white bean. Together it created a play on homemade peanut butter. The scallions were torched to crispiness. The sturgeon piece looked almost like a scallop and had a surprising texture (tender but firm). All of the ingredients worked well together for a great dish.

Chenin blanc from all parts of the globe #nextrestaurant #nextterroir #winewednesday #fiveoclock #cheninblanc #chicago

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We are next presented with a 2007 red wine (Le Vigne di Zamó Schioppettino) from Friuli, Italy. They said this wine has been paired with barley for over 800 years. The food pairing was consommé of barley with arugula dumpling filled with montasio cheese. My friends didn’t like the wine at all, saying it was far too acidic. Surprisingly this was one of my favorite wines and I only noticed the acidity as a unique flavor profile. Perhaps my continual consumption of coffee has really altered my taste receptors. So this was a very interesting show of how different palate perceptions are. The consommé was a bit salty and the barley very fibrous; the dumpling with cheese was the best part.

Barley and bitter greens. #nextterroir #friuli #nextrestaurant

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Next came a very sweet Riesling (Balthasar Ress Riseling Spätlese) from Rheingau, Germany 1997. I prefer red wines and less sweet whites so this wine was not a favorite… for now. The food pairing was squab with beets done 5(!) ways and sliced fennel. The beets were grated into slivers and fried, sliced into disks, made into something similar to chutney, and two different purees. I love beets, and this really highlighted all their flavors. The two purees tasted different, one more creamy whereas the other distilled the essence of beet flavor into a sauce. Underneath the beets were pieces of squab. I have never had squab before and was very surprised to find the texture of the meat was much more tender than any chicken breast.

Squab and beets coming off of @r23jorge station. #nextterroir #nextrestaurant

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For the next course, there was no new wine but rather a refill of the same Riesling. The most crazy and memorable dish of the evening appeared in front of us. Pear cider within a bleu cheese-­infused white-­chocolate shell, presented on a forest­ floor bed of moss over dry ice (the white smoke representing the coastal layer). Pear and bleu cheese is a wonderful classic pairing and this was the Alinea group at its best: the pear juices pop into your mouth as you bite into the shell, and there is cheese infused everywhere. And then we drank the Riesling again, and it was no longer too sweet. In fact it was a perfect pairing, and really showcased how much a proper food pairing can change our senses.

Liquid pear in blue cheese shell. #nextterroir #nextrestaurant

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Krug Grande Cuvée from Champagne, France MV served first in a flute and then in a wine glass to show how glassware affects taste. Paired with potato chips, onion, creme fraiche (a fancy chips and dip). The top of the dish lifted up to reveal another course: osetra caviar over a cake with bits of popcorn. This dish was then lifted once again to reveal a popcorn and brown butter soup. The soup tasted like popcorn, which is mostly butter anyways. Perhaps my least favorite pairing because the dishes made the Champagne taste even more bitter. I’m not a Champagne person and this hasn’t convinced me otherwise. The soup was quite good though.

Now we try another Riesling (Von Winning from Pfalz, Germany 2013), which is supposed to be less sweet and more earthy. I am never quite sure what earthy tastes like but I got an inkling here. This was amplified by the pairing with lion’s mane mushroom, maitake mushroom, bison from North Dakota, and truffled soil (black truffle, breadcrumbs, etc). I’ve seen lion’s mane mushroom before preparation and it looks crazy. It was my first time tasting it and I’m a big fan. The truffle flavor in the soil was subtle, which I prefer (black truffle is so distinctive I don’t need to be hit over the head with it) and the soil provided nice texture.

Spooning black truffles table side for the bison and mushroom course. #nextrestaurant #nextterroir

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We now have a Bodegas Viñátigo Gual (white wine) from Yeoden Daute Isora, Canary Islands Spain 2013. The grapes are grown near volcanic soil and the wine is described as tasting “funky”. I agree, there is definitely a certain tropical, funky taste to the wine, and I enjoyed it. I usually am not excited by hamachi, but this seared hamachi tartare with cilantro, basil, ginger, fermented gooseberry was amazing. It looks like a whole piece of meat, but we are given only a fork and spoon, no knife, which is a hint that the meat must be super tender. And indeed it is a tartare, with the meat offering no resistance as you spoon it up. The fish is seared on one side, which provided really interesting flavors [that I cannot find the words to quantify]. One of the most surprising and delicious courses of the meal.

Seared hamachi tartar with corianders and basil. #nextTerroir

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I think my friends and I all agreed if we had to choose one wine, this would be our favorite of the night: Kathryn Kennedy “Small Lot” Cabernet Sauvignon from Santa Cruz Mountains, California 2012. Cabernet Sauvignon is probably the most popular wine out there, so there is a sense of familiarity, but this is the best Cabernet Sauvignon you can possibly have. Far more depth and complexity, full bodied without overpowering. Just the perfect red wine. And you would expect red wines to be paired with big pieces of meat, but instead we are presented with a large plate of pine needles, smoking rocks, artichoke leaves, snail shells, but only a small central egg cup of sauteed snail, artichoke puree, snail caviar, fried bread is edible. And it worked. Just the right amount of flavors to help us enjoy the wine. Here’s a picture, but the Eucalyptus leaves below have been replaced by pine needles:

We are now transplanted to the Rhone Valley in France with a 2006 Syrah (Domaine Lionnet “Terre Brûlée” Cornas). The food is presented in a dome, which is then lifted to waft rosemary scented smoke at you. Tempura lamb, lamb rillete, lamb jus, charred carrot slices (the best taking carrot I’ve ever had), and two small cubes of very dark chocolate “pudding”. The lamb was good (and one of the few rilletes I like) but I will remember that little cube of chocolate forever. The two courses above were both heavily terroir driven, and I loved it.

Smoke veg for our Rhone (Syrah) course #nextterroir #nextrestaurant. @bornburgundy

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We begin the dessert courses with a very old 1971 Madeira wine (D’Oliveiras Terrantez). It is very sweet like most madeiras and ports, but there is a edge of sourness that comes from the age. Molasses cake, bay leaf, cottage cheese, orange zest, ricotta, banana was delicious.

For the finale, we have another dessert wine (Chateau Pajkos Tokaji 5 Puttonyos) from Hungary, 2006. The final dessert in a tasting menu often strongly impacts my overall experience, and this dessert was stunning. Caramelized white chocolate branches (almost like confetti), ice wine tea cookie, flan ice cream. I am out of words to describe this. It was a visual delight, and every bite was delicious. I think this ties for best dessert of my life.

Looks like @dcberan is drawing inspiration from #funfetti. Ice wine tea, flan, caramelized white chocolate, saffron.

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And so we reach the end. I enjoyed every dish, and all courses were made to a shockingly high level of intricacy and detail. I would rate this as the best tasting menu I’ve ever had. While Alinea might have a few more single memorable dishes, there were some I did not enjoy or too many distractions on one plate. As a cohesive meal, I cannot ask for more than this dinner at Next. That being said, I would still have a hard time justifying the incredibly daunting price tag. Would I do it all over again though? Yes.

For an official review that more accurate describes all the dishes, see Phil Vettel’s 4 star review in the Chicago Tribune.

Longman & Eagle [3], Logan Square, Chicago

Arrived at 5:30pm on a Saturday just as they gave away the last walk-in table (should have parked faster). We waited at the OSB for around an hour for a table to open up.

At the OSB, got Pretzel with Welsh Rarebit, which is a mustard and cheese sauce; and Smelt and Chips. The pretzel was fluffy and the rarebit was cheesy with a mild mustard flavor. Smelt and chips was a play on fish and chips, with tempura smelt, fries, and tartare sauce. It was okay bar food but not super impressive.

Now on to dinner:

»Beef Tartare, Foie Gras Torchon, Medjool Dates, Klug Farms Peaches, Mustard Greens, Buttered Challah, Truffle Gribiche

Got this last time. It is still my favorite dish on their menu at the moment.

»Slagel Family Farms Bone Marrow, Bacon-Shallot Jam, Green Apple Kimchi, Pickled Garlic & Shallots, Parsley, Sourdough

I haven’t gotten bone marrow in years because while I really enjoyed it when I ate it, I also remembered how incredibly rich it was. Here they did not skimp, giving both halves of a huge bone with all its marrow. The bacon-shallot jam was incredible, and with a sprinkle of sea salt, really elevated the flavor of the marrow.

»Confit Beef Tripe, Puffed Rice, Five Spice Marshmallow, Broccoli, Pork Liver Mousse, Szechuan Sauce

I was wary because they seemed like a dressed up version of “beef and broccoli” but I was quite impressed. The confit tripe was very crispy, bringing a very unique texture to the offal. The puffed rice was also crunchy while still remaining airy. Each bite of tripe and rice brought a punch of flavors from the spice and sauces. Star anise was at the forefront for me, but I don’t think I can identify the other spices in 5-spice anyways.

»Braised Pork Cheek, Sour Cabbage, Sea Island Red Peas, Pickled Mustard Seeds, Green Apple, Chinese Mustard Caramel, Beer Foam

The pork cheek was not sliced thin as I expected. In fact it came in quite a solid chunk. The texture was also different from what I envisioned, closer to the solidity of heart, but not quite as tough, being easy to cut through. I don’t really like whole mustard seeds, so this dish didn’t really resonate with me.

»Slow Roasted Cauliflower, Beluga Lentils, Carmelized Onion, Golden Raisins, Mango, Cucumber Raita

I saw this vegetarian entree recommended on the Internet several times, so we decided to try it. It was good, but not too special. The cauliflower, lentils, curry flavor, and yogurt dressing tasted like a (good) traditional Indian dish.

»Terrine of pecan, bourbon, espresso. Honey comb. Ice cream.

I kind of ignored the fact that this dessert was a terrine and focused on the ingredients: pecan, bourbon, espresso. All my favorites things. The ice cream quenelle was served atop some dehydrated ice cream chunks. The rest of the ingredients came in the form of a layered terrine (a slice with a firm pudding consistency). The flavors were more subtle than I had hoped for. I enjoyed the crunch from the honey comb.

We originally wanted to get the jamon serrano wrapped pork tenderloin but it seems it was not available at the time and required a 1 hour wait.

Once again L&E gives good vibes and an enjoyable meal. Ordering is still a bit hit-or-miss. My track records seems to be 50% dishes that are hit out of the park and 50% average/middling dishes. But the highs outweigh the lows, so it’s still my favorite restaurant in Logan Square.

North Pond, Chicago IL

Summer Tasting Menu

Foie Gras, Raspberry Smoked Foie Gras Mousse, Raspberry Jam, Marcona Almonds, Oat Cookie Crumble, Nibs

I was instantly happy upon seeing the first course brought to the table. The mousse was spread generously with a visual delight of toppings sprinkled on top. The raspberries were very fresh (sour), and it was quite fun to scoop everything on top of the accompanying brioche to eat [the brioche at Boka was better though]. The cookie crumble provided a good textural contrast to the very light foie gras mousse.

Tuna, Melon Miso Albacore Tuna, Sake Watermelon, Sesame Slaw, Togarashi Spice, Lime Gel, Shiso

The tuna was seared for a crispy outer while the meat remained rare and tender inside. This is the perfect minimal preparation to let the ingredient itself shine. The sake watermelon was a yellow(!) cube. One of the accompanying sauces had the perfect savory flavor to pair with the tuna, making this a really great dish.

Surprise course Nectarine and tomato gaspacho

Highlighting the fresh ingredients of the season, the cool gaspacho carried the sweetness of the nectarines with a slight tartness from the tomatoes. I really like both ingredients and was even hoping to make my own gaspacho at some point this summer, so this was quite the treat.

Corn, Beans Cornbread Cavatelli, Sweet Corn, Green Beans, Honey-Black Olive Jam, Corn Nuts, Hibiscus

The weakest course of the dinner in my opinion – I could not really taste the cavatelli. The fried corn pieces were nice.

Guinea Hen, Basil Hen Breast Roulades, Striped Shrimp, Herb “Pudding”, Mushroom, Saturn Peach, Bacon, Tomato

A lot was going on here, but the hen breast roulade was the most memorable dish for me tonight. I find chicken breasts quite difficult to prepare truly well, with just the right tenderness. But this breast roulade (probably sous vide) set the standard for tender poultry. The filling added some necessary flavor to the white meat, and one particular bite of the center was extraordinarily juicy and awe-inspiring. I do wish there was less basil sauce though, as I felt that overpowered some of the other aspects of the plate.

Plum, Pistachio Purple Plums, Red Heart Jam Swiss Roll, Sangria Sorbet, Pistachio Meringue, Vanilla

The sangria sorbet really tasted like sangria.


As you can probably tell from my descriptions, I was quite quite happy with my meal at North Pond. The restaurant is located in the middle of Lincoln Park (the actual park) facing North Pond (the actual pond). While we did not arrive early enough to get a seat in the outer room facing the pond (it’s first come, first serve) we admired the view and took some photos before dinner. The atmosphere is really welcoming and casual, and from the moment the first plate was put down, each course just brought a new burst of happiness. The ingredients were fresh and I could taste the playfulness of the recipes, which shone with creativity while not compromising taste and respecting the natural qualities of the ingredients themselves. Plus, the tasting menu is quite “good value” so I definitely recommend coming here whenever possible to taste the season!

Boka, Chicago IL

Summer Tasting Menu

»Abalone • fermented turnips, smoked trout roe

The amuse-bouche of abalone was a good start: the meat was chewy but not too rubbery and the roe provided a splash of flavor.

»Madai Snapper • green coriander, black garlic, dashi, pickled mushrooms

Probably my favorite dish of the night, the snapper was done like a ceviche with a nice dashi pairing, reminding me of a cold summer udon in Japan.

»Tomato • watermelon, sunflower seed, lemon balm

The small heirloom tomato had a gradient of black skin, which is a rare find. The watermelon was compressed (during growth?) so each cube was packed with sweetness.

»Foie Gras • Custard plum, almonds, brioche

The most creative and surprising dish was the foie gras creme brûlée; though the star of that dish was actually the house made brioche which was wonderfully fluffy. I ended up eating the crispy top layer of the creme brûlée separately and then smearing most of the pate onto the brioche after. I am not sure how well the sweet toppings worked together with the strong liver taste.

»Cavatelli • corn, chanterlles, tarragon

The house made cavatelli was very chewy, which is a sign of good handmade pasta. I guess I just wish there was more of it.

»Skate • cucumber, beets horseradish

The skate was slightly breaded/floured, and I am not a big fan of this type of preparation for fish. The meat did has a texture very similar to crab meat, which was intriguing since we missed the waiter’s announcement of the ingredients the first time it was presented.

»Roasted Pork Loin & Belly • burnt eggplant, tomato, onions

The pork loin was tender and a little pink in the middle. I will hazard a guess that it was prepared sous vide. However it was still a very lean cut of meat so the texture was still not as tender as I desired. The belly was very good, with everything melting in your mouth upon consumption. One of the accompanying gels had a licorice-like taste that I took offense to, however.

»Olive Oil Cake • raspberry, blueberry meringue, violet

»Huckleberry • crème fraiche sorbet, coffee cake, speculoos cookie

The crème fraiche sorbet was delicious, but the coffee cake was a bit too sweet.


 

Our meal at Boka was pleasant, with a well-paced tasting menu (no long waits between courses), and a very accommodating waitstaff (they printed out a menu on the spot when I asked for one at the end of the meal). The tasting menu is not preset, so it’s just what the chef thinks goes with the season. Overall, I felt the meal itself was well-prepared good food, but nothing really elicited surprise, astonishment, or pure joy taste-wise. When eating tasting menus, I really look for eye-opening, novel experiences in food, and that wasn’t quite there today. There were also some dishes on the a la carte menu (salt cod ravioli, Peking duck breast, chicken) that I had my eye on, I was a bit disappointed that these were not on the tasting menu. The tasting menu was enjoyable and well-executed, but I did not find it very memorable. So in my opinion, I would recommend going with the a la carte menu at Boka.

Longman & Eagle [2], Logan Square, Chicago

First time coming here for dinner; last time I was here for brunch so I didn’t get the full experience. They don’t take reservations, so on the weekends this place is known for long waits. Showing up at 6pm on a Tuesday, we were immediately seated.

I shared some small plates:

»Beef Tartare, Foie Gras Torchon, Medjool Dates, Klug Farms Peaches, Mustard Greens, Buttered Challah, Truffle Gribiche

This was the dish that made me happiest tonight. I couldn’t really taste the foie gras since there was so much going on, but scooping everything onto the Challah toast, the tartare, sauces, and pickle together reminded me of the taste of an Au Cheval burger (or a Big Mac if you go further back to childhood) but without the dry/hard texture of the patty. I got out of my Au Cheval burger phase since I found the texture of the thin patties less than ideal, but this tartare is the solution. No resistance, all the flavor. I guess secretly I just want to eat better versions of Big Macs everyday.

»Marinated Octopus & Boudin Noir Salad, Ricotta Salata, Boquerones, Fingerling Potato Chips, Arugula, Green Olive Caramel

The octopus was slightly rubbery, and the grilling didn’t leave the crispy texture on the outside that I was hoping for. A lot going on in the plate. Boudin noir (blood sausage) tasted as I hoped (aka like blood but with sausage consistency), which was the main reason I got the dish in the first place.

»Duck-In-A-Jar, Duck Pastrami, Duck Donfit, Duck Heart, Rice Beans, Potatoes, Klug Farms Raspberries, Duck Blood-Foie Gras Jus

This “plate” gets the most points for creativity. Served in a mason jar (lid on) on a specially made plate. Spooning up the juices, meat, and beans on the bottom of the jar, the taste was quite flavorful, reminding me of a nice duck broth. The jar made it slightly hard to eat though, and I didn’t find the rest of the ingredients and flavors that special. I was also slightly distracted by…

»Pretzel Crusted Veal Brain Schnitzel, Spatzle, Smoked Blueberries, Pickled Mustard Seed, Capers, Brown Butter, Lemon

I’m always open to new experiences, and I’ll try almost everything so I had to get this when I saw it on the menu. Nobody else wanted to even try any, so I ate the whole dish myself. The schnitzel was still shaped slightly like a brain, and the fried outer shell did not detract from the texture of the brain inside. This texture is truly unique: almost like heavy whipped cream but not as airy, similar to crab roe but not as gooey. It’s very rich, and the blueberries, mustard seeds, and some kind of jam/gel, were not enough to offset this. It was kind of like eating blueberries and cream/yogurt. Due to the richness, I wouldn’t recommend getting this unless it was to share, but I’m glad I got to try some brains.

Overall, Longman & Eagle is really not afraid to experiment. As a result, there will be hits and misses, but the experience is quite enjoyable and creative. It’s a “neighborhood” restaurant and the most unpretentious Michelin starred restaurant I’ve been to. Since it’s in Logan Square I won’t be making trips specifically to dine here, but it’s a great place to grab brunch/dinner when you’re in the area and the line isn’t out the door.