The Tasting Panel magazine

February 2014

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94 / the tasting panel / february 2014 RESTAURANTS THAT MATTER Ever-changing seafood: big-eye tuna tartar with avocado and caviar at L2O. Of Meat and Molecules C hicago is a tasty array of culinary contradictions. On the one hand, it's (as Carl Sandburg wrote) "City of the Big Shoulders"—a great place to tuck into a gargantuan slab of beef, with a baked potato as large as a freight car on the side. It is a city where the hot dog has been turned into a culinary object of desire. It's a good place to hoist a few. On the other hand, this is the Capital of Molecular Dining in America—the menu is served on edible "paper" at Moto, and at Alinea there's applewood ice cream served at the end of a wire, and a tiny Petri dish that holds an ultra-chilled mango-and-sesame oil loz- enge. But the real King of Edge in Chicago dining was the late Charlie Trotter—who always explored, but also understood that food was meant . . . to be eaten. Just like the dishes at Chef Anthony Martin's Tru, where there's contemporary art on the walls (look! a Warhol!) and contemporary food on the plates, served in a soothing space of white curtains and blue banquettes, where the menu is built around caviar, and more caviar—a selection of everything from Golden Imperial osetra to wasabi tobiko. The meal itself is called "The Experience"—a prix-ixe tasting menu of foie gras and Honeycrisp apples, Jade Tiger abalone and yuzu, eastern skate wing with black trufles, Wagyu beef short ribs with spiced radish, and more. The full Experience is $158. A wine pairing from the 1,500-selection cellar adds on $125. Making the Experience quite the experience indeed. CULINARY CONTRADICTIONS ABOUND IN CHICAGO Creating "The Experience": Chef Anthony Martin in the kitchen at Tru. by Merrill Shindler PHOTO: ANJALI PINTO PHOTO COURTESY OF L2O

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