This article continues to chronicle our recent dining experiences in Chicago. Thursday was our splurge night and did we ever.
The only other meal we’ve had comparable with our dinner at TRU was years ago when Alain Ducasse had his restaurant in the Essex House in NYC. TRU lived up to our expectations - and more. The dining room is very open, décor sleek and contemporary, but still welcoming for a romantic dinner. We opted for the Chef's Collection nine course tasting menu, which ended up being more like 14 courses. Every dish was creative and simply fabulous, stunning presentation, and service matched the food - impeccable. Executive Chef Anthony Martin (who looks like he’s 12) has a visual arts background, which you recognize when you see what arrives at your table.
Highlights of the meal included TRU’s signature white sturgeon “caviar” served in a tin. It’s not caviar, but sturgeon that has been smoked, pureed, and immersed by drops in liquid nitrogen to form beautiful snow white balls that are served with avocado puree and hazelnut crackers. This was a fun and easy introduction to the concept of caviar for newbies like us.
We also really enjoyed the ancho cured duck breast served with tangerine slices, sour cherries, and frisee served atop a STONE.
The superbly seared foie gras with “10 grapes” (the wine-colored dots) made Craig take notice (he doesn’t do foie). Perfectly caramelized on the outside, melt-in-your-mouth buttery, creamy on the inside, the perfect descriptive of unami.
Next up was jidori chicken roulade with petit cabbage and banyuls gastrique presented on a tree trunk. I kid you not. WOW factor aside, this was likely the course I most enjoyed and by far the best chicken I’ve ever eaten. Really? Chicken? Yes. Translated, jidori means “from the ground,” this Japanese free range chicken was perfectly executed with robust, earthy flavors.
The prime beef ribeye, served with wasabi potato puree and maitake mushrooms, was presumably dry-age, prime beef based on its bursting, rich flavors, almost full-bodied, juicy, with just the right amount of marbling.
I am a cheese course girl and we had at least 10 to choose from, a mix of cow, goat, and sheep milk cheeses accompanied by clover honey, fruit nut bread, and berry fruit compote.
Next up was the “linens out to dry”, resembling a clothesline with pins that held house made fruit leathers that melted bursts of sweet and tart flavors in your mouth.
Finally, dessert. I had read about TRU’s deconstructed campfire of s’more and even though it is not currently on the menu, our server was more than happy to have it prepared for me – grahams, chocolate, and luscious homemade marshmallows. What a treat.
Craig’s dessert, lemon sorbet, geranium consommé, was dramatically served “Compliments of George”.
I must give credit to Craig for providing a few contributions to this review that include noticing the "synchronized" serving of every course where the servers surround your table and present the dish at the EXACT same time to each diner – and – the impressive feat of selecting our wine, Coho Michael Blackburn merlot, from the 1,800 wines in their 61 page wine list.
TRU was on my culinary bucket list, and it’s a bitter sweet to cross it off. If you’re in Chicago, treat yourself and a loved one and dine at this American icon.
Next review we late lunched at Sable Kitchen & Bar