We had eaten at 42 grams about a month ago and by chance saw they had a later reservation for last night so we grabbed it and headed back for an even better meal this time!
if you by any chance memorized the menu from last time - we did not but have them to compare - they were the exact same menus but here is the thing- we enjoyed the food even more this time, we had a chance to settle into the nuances of each course in a way we could not when we were so awe-struck by the amazing food combinations the last time-
I believe execution was the same and that we were the ones experiencing it differently but we had a really super evening - with Jake and Matt in the kitchen and Alexa and Emily in front of the house!!!!
so we arrived in a drizzle to the wonders awaiting under the EL- the front is frosted glass so no peeking inside before you enter- LOL
inside Matt (shown) and Jake - the Chef are already starting on the magic of our dinner tonight!
annoyingly we are waiting on some woman from Glencoe who couldn't be bothered to get here on time despite the email reminding people that they should arrive at 8:30 and dinner would start serving exactly at 8:45... remember this is like eating at someone's house despite the fancy kitchen... and you'll love this- she arrives at 9:05 35 minutes late and then boorishly spends the first half of the dinner loudly telling her friend about the progress of her 1 and 3 year old children! Save me !!!! - I later asked Alexa if we couldn't just limit the guests to city dwellers- LOL we did have a lovely couple (originally from Hong Kong) next to us, who live in Mark & Laura's building at Museum Place. Their twin kids (now in their mid 20s and living in LA) gave them the meal as their combined mother's and father's day gift after researching the food scene in Chicago for something cutting edge- (seriously nice of them!)
we started with the crispy snacks (bread course- LOL)
then the juniper jump cocktail - which completely invoked Asia to me- not even exactly sure why-
next up the cucumber "study" as a salad- first at the prep station and then in front of me-
next the asparagus course in prep and then complete in front of us- the tuna is air dried by the sea in Spain! and it really does have the taste and texture of Jamon Iberico...
top it off with asparagus gelato and you have a superb dish!
a view from the back looking to the front and an award from the Chaines
our white pairing - more Burgundian than Chablis- big and not real "steely"
the flavors of the sea- oyster, salmon, roe, shrimp and uni
then we moved to the red- we had pulled this from the cellar due to the label damage but it was showing well and we were happy to have it (brought a backup just in case)
it paired very well with the egg and grains course which I would LOVE for breakfast!
pork belly tacos - what's not to love? as we say in the law Res Ipsa Loquitor (the thing speaks for itself)
the incredible sweetbreads! even better than last time as they came to us freshly fried and warm and crispy!
the course to end all competition for "best course ever anywhere, anytime" and that includes Next (three different menus) and Alinea and places all over the world (for instance see the recent blog entries from Lyon, France)- and what is it? essence of beef- the very essence of what makes beef beefy...from the A5 wagyu to the bone marrow powder - this dish just totally rocks!
the "tart" course is rhubarb essence in a white chocolate shell- bursts in your mouth (or all over you if you don't put the whole thing in your mouth before you bite into it! like one of the people there last night)
a fabulous dessert of ginger/spice cake and root beer float (the root beer is floating on the ice cream! LOL)
the cute cheese course - pecorino three ways - in a giant "cheeto" as flavor and filled with the fondue and then topped with a foam! (encouraged a try on this one with a Stilton for fuller flavor with some blue added)
and the night cap- looks like cappuccino but is actually mousse like coffee with cardamom foam- yum!
all gone! and all done!
thanks to Jake & Alexa for another wonderful amazing stupendous incredible meal (with assists from Matt and Emily!) I don't think it gets any better than this- but I am actually willing to be proven wrong here!
Next week we try EL ideas - we will report back!