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Charlie Trotter Topic


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Mark Caro had a very detailed piece in yesterday's Chicago Tribune, about the Beard Foundation dinner which took place at Trotter's on April 17:

The event ostensibly was a fundraiser and show of support for the scandal-racked foundation, whose former president pleaded guilty earlier this year to stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the non-profit organization. But the evening also was a showcase for nine chefs who used to work at Trotter's and were asked back by their former boss to prepare a dish each for this $250-a-plate dinner -- and it could be seen as a highly collegial scrimmage in the competitive world of what Trotter calls "the grand cuisine."

Trotter may have sparked headlines and heated debate with his recently revealed foie gras ban and scathing attack on Tru chef Rick Tramonto (a Trotter alum who, no surprise, was not one of the dinner's participants), but Sunday's event was more representative of the true battle for the soul of fine dining.

Culinary chemistry

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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  • 2 months later...
Has Trotter's become a place where people dine at because "If you're going to Chicago, you HAVE to dine at Charlie Trotter's" sort've thing?

The short answer to this is "Yes". We went on a Gastronomically Gluttonous Gourmet Getaway about 2 weeks ago. This was the first time my wife and I had visited Chicago. When I was doing my research on where to dine, we ultimately decided on Trotter's because it's become a Chicago staple. I will say we were not disappointed though. It was not the trancendent experince that The French Laundry is, but it was still a very nice experience.

I wrote up my thoughts on our blog and posted the pics to Flickr if you're interested.

Gastronomic Fight Club

Flickr Pics

P.S. - We will also be blogging about our visits to Alinea, Blackbird, TRU, and Orange

Gastronomic Fight Club - Mischief. Mayhem. Soup.

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. . . P.S. - We will also be blogging about our visits to Alinea, Blackbird, TRU, and Orange

Feel free to post on the appropriate threads here, as well. :wink:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Did anyone attend the Blumenthal/Wakuda event on 7 March. I'd be very interested to know how it went.

Yes. We did. We are active on the French and Spanish forums; we are also CT diners since he opened in '87. We are Chicagoans that live in the Lincoln Park area. We applaud every exciting cooking effort by any local chef. There are many new chefs in Chicago that exceed Charlie's talents.

And yes we jumped (foolishly) at the option to sample the Fat Duck's fare as well as Tetsuya's excellent Australian culinary contributions. Such international cooking from visting chefs at Charlie's restaurant over the years has been very mixed and less than satisfying.

These events over the years have never provided outstanding dining experiences. This dinner was flawed because the kitchen was overwhelmed by the demand of the diners needs. Terribly disappointed by this extraordinary combination of cooking talents, we wished a better outcome.

One of the items presented to the diner upon leaving was Tetsuya's bottled truffled mushrooms. This preparation was inedible. This was an insult to any diner that visited CT that night.

We will consider Hestor Blumenthal's dining room in England. Maybe we will eventually seek out Tetsuya. Tetsuya whose culinary heritage is from Japan is a unique talent. This dinner never reflected any such talent.

I wish our assessment was more upbeat. Sorry. Judith Gebhart

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After a long day of trying to get to Chicago from DC last Wednesday (F***ing cab came too late to get me to Dulles early and F***ing gate agent for United wouldn't bend the rules by 2 minutes to get my luggage on the plane despite the F***ing curbside check in people delaying me for 10 minutes.) Charlie Trotter's ended up being just what I needed to get my short vacation back on track early enough to salvage the rest of the weekend.

I went through reservations at Tru and Alinea before deciding on Trotter's. Mixed reports about Tru and my wife's reaction to the pictures of the first meals at Alinea ("That just doesn't look appealing at all") sealed the deal. But it is the rare restaurant that doesn't engender both positive and negative reports. As you can see above, Charlie Trotter's is no exception.

Others elsewhere have called the service at Trotter's stuffy or even arrogant, but I found it pleasant and soothing. Some have said the food there can be a bit stodgy or out-of-date, I found good ingredients, well-prepared. Some have hinted that Trotter's might be resting on its laurels. This was my first time, but I found a restaurant that felt like it was doing what it does well and not trying-too-hard-to-impress.

The courses were always good, some excellent. A scallop, crab and clam dish was a little too plain. There were a few too many dishes featuring mushrooms on my wife's vegetable tasting. But on the whole these are small nits to pick. I thought the squab dish was excellent, in fact my favorite dish so far of 2005. We were pleasantly surprised to be served an extra course of Kobe Beef Four Ways that didn't appear to go to any of the other tables. And when we mentioned how much we enjoyed the macaroons they quickly brought us a box to take back to the hotel.

This was a meal that wasn't setting off any fireworks, but not every night is the 4th of July. And most nights I like it that way.

Edited by bilrus (log)

Bill Russell

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...my wife's reaction to the pictures of the first meals at Alinea ("That just doesn't look appealing at all") sealed the deal....

Others elsewhere have called the service at Trotter's stuffy or even arrogant, but I found it pleasant and soothing.  Some have said the food there can be a bit stodgy or out-of-date, I found good ingredients, well-prepared.  Some have hinted that Trotter's might be resting on its laurels.  This was my first time, but I found a restaurant that felt like it was doing what it does well and not trying-too-hard-to-impress.

The courses were always good, some excellent.  A scallop, crab and clam dish was a little too plain.  There were a few too many dishes featuring mushrooms on my wife's vegetable tasting.  But on the whole these are small nits to pick.  I thought the squab dish was excellent, in fact my favorite dish so far of 2005.  We were pleasantly surprised to be served an extra course of Kobe Beef Four Ways that didn't appear to go to any of the other tables.  And when we mentioned how much we enjoyed the macaroons they quickly brought us a box to take back to the hotel.

This was a meal that wasn't setting off any fireworks, but not every night is the 4th of July.  And most nights I like it that way.

Good write up bilrus. This was almost exactly how my wife and I felt. It was interesting that you specifically singled out the extensive use of mushrooms. I felt the same way, which was disappointing because all the dishes tasted slightly similar. With that said, it was still a great experience and was only nudged out of our favorite Chicago spot by TRU by a thin margin.

Since I forgot to link directly to my Trotter's write up and I didn't have my TRU write up done at the time of my previous post, I'm linking to both of them here. The images for both posts will take you to the pictures on Flickr.

Charlie Trotter's

vs.

TRU

P.S. - How was the Kobe, it sounds great. Do you recall the preperations?

Gastronomic Fight Club - Mischief. Mayhem. Soup.

Foodies of Omaha - Discover the Best of Omaha

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P.S. - How was the Kobe, it sounds great.  Do you recall the preperations?

It was excellent - We were getting full and knew we had three desserts and mignardises coming, but we were happy we made room for it. It wasn't on the menu, so I can't remember exactly.

But from my memory there was a small meltingly tender braised cube of what I remember to be short rib, three slices of grilled very tender strip loin, a small piece of barely seared, warm on the outside, cold on the inside tenderloin and a very beefy sauce that was the fourth preparation.

Bill Russell

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It wasn't on the menu, so I can't remember exactly. 

I wonder if this is something they do often or maybe just for out-of-town guest? We each got an extra desserts that were both superb. I just wish they would have dropped a note in along with our menu to remind us what they were. I guess I can always email them with the picture.

Gastronomic Fight Club - Mischief. Mayhem. Soup.

Foodies of Omaha - Discover the Best of Omaha

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It wasn't on the menu, so I can't remember exactly. 

I wonder if this is something they do often or maybe just for out-of-town guest? We each got an extra desserts that were both superb. I just wish they would have dropped a note in along with our menu to remind us what they were. I guess I can always email them with the picture.

I don't know. I'm always curious when this happens - In addition to our fruit-themed desserts we were given a third chocolate dessert to share, but this appeared to be the practice at all the tables.

Not that I'm complaining. :smile:

Edited by bilrus (log)

Bill Russell

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  • 3 weeks later...

go for the chefs table if you can. Call them up, let them know of the occasion, and see if you can wiggle your way in.

BTW, Congrats on your anniversary. Here's to many more!!

Tonyy13

Owner, Big Wheel Provisions

tony_adams@mac.com

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  • 1 month later...

Gaffes and Genius

The insistent and obstinate question after last evening's visit to Charlie Trotter's is what errors should affect the reputation of a restaurant. This is a crucial question for reviewers, but one rarely discussed. Problems of conception, execution, service, and style are endemic - even in the writings of critics. Should my failures at spell checking or mistaken allegation that a wild plum was tame count against my hard-fought and fragile credibility? Find the 30 goofs in this text and win a prize.

I had last visited Charlie Trotter's in 1999, dining at the kitchen table. The meal was as close to being perfect as a can recall. (Were I Nick Hornby's emotionally stunted Rob in High Fidelity [i am], it would have nestled on my top five meals with twenty-four hours to live. "Hey, have a nice day").

That meal was, if anything, too superb. For years I hesitated to return because I recognized that any second visit could not hold up to the memory of the first. Sometimes at highly regarded restaurants I deceive myself that the meal was better than it was, if only desperately to convince myself that I had an EXPERIENCE. But a critic must flagellate himself, and, despite the bill, very few meals snuggle up to perfection.

I will be spending next year in New York City and plan to dine at Trotter's 2006 New York outpost (along with a few soggy New York establishments that wistfully strive for Chicago standards). A return was long-overdue.

It remains true that Charlie Trotter is a culinary genius. Today he is the most profoundly influential chef of his generation. The kitchen at 816 Armitage is a teaching hospital, and we are grateful for his training of a new generation. However, perfection and socialization do not always exist in comfortable harmony.

Chef Trotter has a preternatural sensibility of texture and taste. (He seems less interested in aroma, leaving a space for Grant Achatz's experiments). A tranquil and modest grandeur characterizes Trotter's cuisine. While his plates are often elegantly composed, they are less visually pyrotechnic than is often found. Trotter's greatness is as the broker of the transition between a classical cuisine and a cuisine that is unafraid of marrying foodstuffs from different lineages and with contrasting taste profiles. One can not fairly suggest that he fully belongs to the French nouvelle tradition with its boisterous joy of overturning expectations, but he brings a Japanese emotive sensibility to the gustatory experiments of the nouvelle tradition without ignoring classical limits. It is this profundity which provides a base from which chefs such as Cantu and Bowles can create their boisterous experiments.

As a dining room, Charlie Trotter's with its vaguely Art Deco decor insists the place not distract from the plate. The tans, browns, creams, and maroons avoid the fantasies of French drawing rooms or post-modern architectural seductions. The only exceptions - and they are profound - are the stunning bouquets at the entrance and in the dining room, as powerful for their textures as for their shape and color: hortus in urbe.

Our plan was that I would order the Grand Menu ($135) and my wife would "take one for the team," ordering the Vegetable Menu ($115). On this late summer evening, the vegetable menu was heaven, while the Grand Menu inspired thoughts about error and taste.

What should it matter if a server forgets the butter? When our rolls arrived, our server forgot the butter. Servers at Trotters are known, properly, for combining efficiency and a cheery cordiality; our servers were not disappointing in this regard, answering my many questions. Yet, there was no butter. When I requested some, it was brought with alacrity. How should such an error count? All would agree that this is a mistake, but one so fleeting and so human that one can hardly pump oneself to take offense. The minor daily flubs we all commit would pale beside the crime of the truant butter. However, at a restaurant that strives for perfection, such a mistake is to be noted, not because even the harshest Captain Queeg can prevent such blunders, but to ignore such things is to dismiss the very standard that the restaurant demands.

We turn to the Amuse Gueule. Amuse Gueule? I trust that some solid rationale exists for an alternative terminology to the more common Amuse Bouche. Enquiring minds note that Rick Tramonto of Tru and interlocutor of Chef Trotter on the politics of foie gras has a well-publicized new book devoted to the Amuse Bouche. But shame on me for suspecting.

The Amuse Gueules started the meals off on different trajectories. The Vegetable Menu began with a delicate squash blossom stuffed with morels, and napped with a silky morel sauce. But morels in August? Surely not from a can? Trotter's takes May morels, preserving them in oil, so the opulence of the oil (presumably olive) adds another herbal dimension to the taste. Alinea's PB&J may be fun, but this is delight.

In sharp contrast was my own amuse. The Irish salmon on seaweed noodles married the soggy with the gummy. The two bites constituted the least appealing (and, in truth, the only unappealing) bites that I have had at Trotter's. If I don't know all of the trade tricks of the chef, I can tell sashimi grade fish. A small course, but big miss.

Both first courses were triumphs with the vegetables tinkling brighter. "Confit of leeks with organic fennel, nicoise olives and Sally Jackson farm sheep milk cheese" was an archetypal Trotter dish. It was not flashy - no sharp edges, no blazing colors - but what a palette of flavors! The fennel added a slightly bitter edge, the olives an acidic pungency, and the cheese a rich savoriness. The leeks, standing up to these challenges, held the center from which these alternative accents radiated. There was a classic purity to this dish that simultaneously seeming so contemporary.

My own opener, "Marinated Bluefin Tuna and Citrus Vinaigrette with Heirloom Tomato Water" (with an Annatto Rice Chip) was, in contrast to the amuse, superbly fresh matchsticks of tuna. While the dish is described as "tomato water" (a surprising turn of phrase), it had the texture of a puree. Citrus and tomato add the acid that cut the buttery richness of a fatty fish like tuna. I was fully satisfied, if still a little jealous.

Susan's favorite food (#1 on foods to consume on a deserted island) is hearts of palm (she would, of course, only settle on an island that could satisfy such needs). As a consequence, I missed my just share of "Roasted Hearts of Palm With Fava Beans & Summer Truffle" (which, if memory serves, also embraced some nubile young asparagi). This was another memorable dish, textured with careful gradients in taste. The slices of summer truffles were a loving touch, although I have never been enamored by God's Viagra. Chef Trotter, consider the army of amoral pigs brutally rooting in the forest duff for a bit of nasty: surely truffles are fungal foie gras.

Two minutes can be an eternity at the stove, and managed to upend my second course, so close to brilliant, "Japanese Hamachi with Indian Pickle, Thai Eggplant & Lemongrass Curry Emulsion." Hiding on the plate was pieces of satsuma orange and, majestically, bitter melon. The combination of tastes, patient and demanding of attention, were perfectly balanced. The unexpected bitter melon, like a hidden character left off the program in a murder mystery, proved that one does not need a chemistry set to knock out diners. And yet at the heart of this otherwise assured dish was a piece of hamachi (yellowtail or racing tuna) that had seen better minutes. Tuna is an unforgiving fish. Perhaps a cook was dreaming of a wayward lover, and my fish got the worse of unrequited love. The hamachi was not a wizened hunk and looked healthy, but died on the tongue. In retrospect, this was a moment for alerting the server, but my discretion was the worst part of valor. Someday I will have this dish in its perfection, and my unrequited love will be requited. Adding piquancy was that on my first visit the high point of the evening was a brilliant and blatantly undercooked duck breast, confronting those who muddle with medium.

Third course on the Vegetable Menu was "Vegetable Cannelloni with Farro, Kohlrabi & Red Wine Emulsion (read: foam)." The "pasta" was comprised of root vegetables - Atkins on Armitage. (Farro is, however, an antique grain). If this was not quite the bright combination of flavors of some other dishes, feeling more "vegetarian" than most, it was a witty and spare response to traditional Italian cuisine. The red wine foam added a complexity that otherwise was lacking.

Dish three on the Grand Menu, "Organic Berkshire Pork with Braised Salsify & Zucchini-Cumin Puree" (with forest mushrooms) was another dish that was a few ticks on the clock from glorious, although far less unfortunate that the lamented hamachi. The flavorings were grand. Pork and cumin are made for each other. Trotter cooked the pork in several forms, but the medallions suffered most. Just a hint of juice would have placed this dish in the collection of Trotter's best.

The final "entree" on the Vegetable Menu, "Taro Root Cake with Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Braised Italian Kale & Orange Lentil Puree," was Chef Trotter's most architecturally ambitious creation of the evening. The brown and orange smears of sauce set off the greens, tans, and blacks of the main ingredients. If taro is not the most pungent of foodstuff, kale and lentil provided the energy. Trotter's dishes do not generally aspire to serve as visual works of art, but this dish surpassed the requirements of this approach to haute cuisine.

The Grand Menu climaxed with "Millbrook Venison Loin with Lobster Mushrooms, Savoy Cabbage & Sweetbreads." I came to realize that the chef's culinary palate was pointing towards fall: root vegetables, cabbage, lentils, kohlrabi, and 57 varieties of mushrooms. I have always thought of venison as autumnal and the cabbage and lobster mushrooms were just right with the venison lightened by the perfectly prepared sweetbreads. With the exception of the earlier heirloom tomato water (and the desserts) summer had set. If the venison loin was cooked just barely more than I would have chosen (the ball of veal cheeks was superb), its presentation was well within appropriate culinary standards, and the dish was superior.

Our palette cleansers were a pair of sorbets: Cantaloupe with Yuzu and Watercress (with bits of lardon) on the Grand Menu and Cucumber Sorbet with Cucamelon & Cilantro. Cucamelon, who knew? Cucumber and melon; chocolate and peanut butter? What a world. Neither were quite palate "cleansers;" each was a palate intensifier. No dish is too modest to challenge our assumptions.

The dessert on the Vegetable Menu qualifies as the best dessert that I have eaten (shared, sadly) since the last time at Trotter's when I was presented with a platonic plate of Japanese inspired and flavored petit fours. "Red Haven Peaches with Thyme & Olive Oil Ice Cream" [and, surprise!, apricots too] was dessert to a higher power. Red Haven peaches are a Michigan varietal, but these fruits have a honeyed southern accent. The herbal ice cream cuts the sweetness of the peaches, and creates a dish that avoids a dessert sugar fix.

"Michigan Raspberries with Anise Hyssop & Raw Vanilla Ban Ice Cream" was the curtain call on the Grand Menu. The raspberries, not as large as some varieties, were more flavorful than most, and as with the peaches the touch of anise cut the sweetness. A most excellent close to what had been a brilliantly conceived, if imperfectly executed, menu.

I haven't mentioned the wines. I decided to try the "beverage tasting menu." I was glad of that choice since my intent was to see the kitchen at work, but I would not again. These elegant drinks could not match the complexity of wine. The selections: "Granny Smith Apple, Cucumber and Celery," "Lemongrass, Green tea and Asian Pear," "Pineapple, Orange and Picked Galangal (ginger's cousin)," "Navarro Vineyards Pinot Noir Juice," "Porcini Mushroom, Dandelion Miso Tea," and "Watermelon & Yuzu" were straight-forward, and each was dominated by a simple taste: celery, green tea, pineapple, porcini, and watermelon. The pineapple and watermelon were particularly refreshing. As juices, who could complain, but they were far from the flinty hills of Burgundy.

This meal reconfirmed my belief that Charlie Trotter's is a rare four-star restaurant, that Charlie Trotter is not only among the greatest chef creators of his generation but the singular animating force who has created Chicago dining as American haute cuisine, and that this is a restaurant that demands routine patronage. However, while the Vegetable Menu was a four star meal, the Grand Menu rates three stars for execution. Perhaps the overcooking is a sign that the restaurant is becoming cautious in attempting to please a more conventional clientele or perhaps it means that I suffered the doleful effects of a cook in love.

Critic's Note

When asked, I informed the server that some of the dishes, particularly the hamachi, were overcooked, and she told me that she would share my wisdom (although she did not describe it so) with the kitchen. This is, of course, something that no critic with a shred of self-esteem should do.

When our meal was complete Chef Trotter stopped me: "I just wanted to let you know that we terminated the cook who prepared your hamachi." Fool me once . . . . Diners have heard stories of this youthful chef's commitment to perfection. He soon added, "that doesn't mean that we fired him, we terminated him" (with extreme prejudice). I was upended. This from a man who might serve Rick Tramonto's bloated liver, but still manages to retains Richie Daley's charm. Bravo.

In the interest of full disclosure, we were also provided a bag of gifts, which although it violated my critic's code, I accepted with a mixture of chagrin and glee. As I shall soon have a website, I have learned that the code of ethics for us bloggers is a four letter word: MORE.

Charlie Trotter's

816 Armitage

Chicago, IL 60614

773-248-6228

Cross-posted on eGullet and LTHforum.

Coming soon to a blogosphere near you.

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We turn to the Amuse Gueule. Amuse Gueule? I trust that some solid rationale exists for an alternative terminology to the more common Amuse Bouche. Enquiring minds note that Rick Tramonto of Tru and interlocutor of Chef Trotter on the politics of foie gras has a well-publicized new book devoted to the Amuse Bouche. But shame on me for suspecting.

I recently encountered the term "Amuse Gueule" in a book by Richard Olney published nearly thirty years ago, so I don't think it's a sudden affectation on trotter's part.

It does sound like the vegetable menu was the more interesting choice.

When our meal was complete Chef Trotter stopped me: "I just wanted to let you know that we terminated the cook who prepared your hamachi." Fool me once . . . . Diners have heard stories of this youthful chef's commitment to perfection. He soon added, "that doesn't mean that we fired him, we terminated him" (with extreme prejudice). I was upended. This from a man who might serve Rick Tramonto's bloated liver, but still manages to retains Richie Daley's charm. Bravo.

That made me laugh. :laugh:

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  • 4 weeks later...

I went to Charlie Trotter's on 9/9 and had dinner in the studio with a large party and it SUCKED!

Complaint #1--if you are going to amuse me with an amuse, then give us more than a little weird blob of essence on a demitasse spoon.

Complaint #2--for the price that my host was paying for 14 dinners in the studio, can we have some FUCKING privacy! Every five minutes, some prospective client who wanted to book the studio was brought in and being shown around while we were eating at a private dinner. Not kosher!

Complaint #3--the food was really mixed. Some courses were divine (oh, those sweetbreads and the raw tuna course), but some were just foul (that chocolate wasabi mousse). Didn't Charlie's mom tell him to not play with his food? The cheese course was a disaster--he took a very lovely, smelly raw sheep's milk cheese and cuts it so it looks like flower and then dumps cashew puree on it! Why? It was a lovely cheese all alone! Every plate was really pretty, but please sir, may I have some more? Basically every course was miniscule (about the size of a piece of nigri sushi), and some were gross, so I left pretty hungry.

The service was perfect (except when they were showing off the room to future parties) and the wines (chosen by the sommelier) were amazing.

But overall, I do not get it. Charlie is so overrated--the emperor has no oven.

The following Friday, I ate at Gary Danko in SF--way better food (and enough food I might add), better service and less expensive.

S. Cue

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But overall, I do not get it. Charlie is so overrated--the emperor has no oven.

The following Friday, I ate at Gary Danko in SF--way better food (and enough food I might add), better service and less expensive.

Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience there. We enjoyed our time at CT, but GD will always be one of my favorite places to eat. I think it's one of the best vales in fine dining to be found.

Your comment made me think about something. It seems like all the fine dining establishments in Chicago are over priced, even compared to SF! Has anyone else found this to be true? I've never been to LA or NY, so I can only compare to SF. Not counting the French Laundry, it seems like you can get the biggest tasting menu at most restaurants for under $125. That was not the case in Chicago. It's been about 2 years since I've been to SF, have prices really gone up that much?

I'll be going to the French Laundry, Manresa, Gary Danko and Postrio in January, so I'd like to find out what my damage is going to be before then. :biggrin:

Gastronomic Fight Club - Mischief. Mayhem. Soup.

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Well, Gary Danko's 5 course menu is now $81--not a bad deal! Caviar service is extra, but the seared foie gras appetizer (which I highly recommend--it's orgasmic!) is not.

Well, not counting GD :rolleyes: As I said, that's one of the best deals to be found in fine dining.

Manresa's tasting menu is $98 and they are on the list of Top 50 Restaurants in the World

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A Trotter's to Go is going to be in the Loop- at Monroe and Franklin on the Northeast corner. There is a health club(Equinox) locating there as well. It looks like it could be open in a few weeks. I'll pickup dinner for the commute back to the suburbs-I know it will be pricey -any favorites?

What disease did cured ham actually have?

Megan sandwich: White bread, Miracle Whip and Italian submarine dressing. {Megan is 4 y.o.}

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:hmmm:

The last time I visited Trotter's to Go on Fullerton, they had a lobster bisque that was truly amazing. Try that if/when it's available; also, the salads tend to be beautifully fresh and the breads inventive and tasty.

The sticker shock is a hazard, though, and I frankly don't go there often for that reason.

:cool:

Me, I vote for the joyride every time.

-- 2/19/2004

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For the sake of reference, going forward, it's probably worth noting here that chef Trotter's NYC plans have been scrapped.

From the New York Times, September 28, 2005:

Nearly two years after it was announced that he would become the final star in the constellation of top chefs at the Time Warner Center, Charlie Trotter and the building's retail developers have decided to cancel plans for him to open a seafood restaurant there.

Mr. Trotter said in a telephone interview yesterday that as his restaurant's budget climbed from $6 million to $9 million to $11.5 million, the Related Companies, the center's co-developer, decided to scale back the concept and design.The $11.5 million cost - for what would not have been a formal restaurant although it was being designed by the noted architect Michael Graves - would have been almost as much as that for Per Se, where dinner with wine routinely costs $200 or more.

Charlie Trotters in TWC, Canceled (ongoing eGS forum discussion)

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Stopped by the CT To Go "Express". It seems to cater to the work out and lunch crowds. There were some delicious looking baked sweets and surprisingly puddings-chocolate and I think vanilla. That surprised me. When I think of CT I don't think of chocolate pudding in a plastic tub. Plenty of big lettuce-greens etc salads and small tubs of lentil, rice and tuna based salads. I took home the wild rice salad ($3.95) with dried cherries and vinagerette and the olive oil red pepper tuna salad ($4) to use as sides for dinner. WOW, the tuna was really good-a nice creamy red pepper sauce with pieces of fresh red pepper. The wild rice salad retained its wild rice crunch and had plenty of dried cherries. Did not notice soups but they had some breads and a refrigerated case of various bottled juices, waters. ( Did not see the typical sodas.) Was expecting hot entrees, roasted chickens etc but again did not notice hot foods. I guess that is what they mean by "express". I looked for a menu and a wall board toting daily specials but did not see either. I was running for the train however and my total time spent there was less than 5 minutes. Service was quick but it was not crowded at 4:30. Got a cute CT bag for the salads.

What disease did cured ham actually have?

Megan sandwich: White bread, Miracle Whip and Italian submarine dressing. {Megan is 4 y.o.}

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  • 9 months later...

So.......me and baby brother are coming over from London UK. Should it be Charlie T's or Alinea? And can anyone tell me what the current degustation menu prices are at Charlies? And are the menus given on his website up to date?

PS a clue to our tastes.....for those gulleteers who have travelled over here and visited the gastromic temples in Bray - ie 'Fat Duck' and 'Waterside Inn'............we definitely prefer Waterside Inn!

Looking forward to my first visit to Chicago since 1976.....guess it may have changed a little??!!

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