Tag Archives: scallops

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.