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Charlie Trotter Topic


awbrig
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I'm going to go out on a limb here and say you'd probably prefer Trotter's. Though Alinea and the Fat Duck aren't exactly the same, I think they are similar enough to shy away from Alinea, especially if you actually disliked the Fat Duck (which wasn't quite clear in your post). If you wanted to try a place somewhere in between CT and Alinea, then you may want to consider Avenues.

Granted I'm a little biased because I was one of the people who thought Alinea didn't live up to the hype.

Have you also considered TRU? This was our favorite restaurant in Chicago.

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I'm going to go out on a limb here and say you'd probably prefer Trotter's.  Though Alinea and the Fat Duck aren't exactly the same, I think they are similar enough to shy away from Alinea, especially if you actually disliked the Fat Duck (which wasn't quite clear in your post).  If you wanted to try a place somewhere in between CT and Alinea, then you may want to consider Avenues. 

Granted I'm a little biased because I was one of the people who thought Alinea didn't live up to the hype.

Have you also considered TRU?    This was our favorite restaurant in Chicago.

If you're Waterside Inn kind people, I'd say Trotter's... if Fat Duck, I'd say TRU, not Alinea.

Have you considered The Avenues?

u.e.

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

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I just received word from a friend at Trotter's about special book signing and wine tasting which will take place at Trotter's To Go on Saturday, July 29. The event is part of Charlie Trotter's 19th Anniversary celebration and will feature appearances by Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz Restaurant and Pastry Chef Pierre Hermé, to name just a few.

Details can be found on the eG Calendar or by contacting Charlie Trotter's

=R=

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I just received word from a friend at Trotter's about special book signing and wine tasting which will take place at Trotter's To Go on Saturday, July 29.  The event is part of Charlie Trotter's 19th Anniversary celebration and will feature appearances by Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz Restaurant and Pastry Chef Pierre Hermé, to name just a few.

Details can be found on the eG Calendar or by contacting Charlie Trotter's

=R=

I recently got an invitation to attend the dinner that's going along with this 19th anniversary celebration. $650/person. A little rich for my blood these days.

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I recently got an invitation to attend the dinner that's going along with this 19th anniversary celebration.  $650/person.  A little rich for my blood these days.

:blink: Surely part of this goes to a charitable cause? Or the ban-foie gras campaign fund? :hmmm:

I don't think it's a matter of being too rich for my blood - I don't think mine is rich enough for his! :raz:

u.e.

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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Does anyone know the current prices for Trotter's menus, especially the kitchen table?  The only price I can find on the website is for the $85 wine flight with meals.  Thanks.

Last I dined there, the kitchen-table menu (which can be ordered at a regular table) was $175; add the $85 or so wine degustation which accompanies, plus tax and tip, and you're in for approximately $350.

It could be more now; check with them directly.

:cool:

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-- 2/19/2004

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  • 2 weeks later...

It is news for diners in the Chicago area and elsewhere in the US. Charlie Trotter is hosting a number of world class chefs for his annual anniversary charity dinner on July 30th, 2006. The most esteemed young, highly innovative Basque Spanish chef, is Andoni Luiz Aduriz of the lovely, modern country restaurant Mugaritz located outside of San Sebastien in Spain He is a most talented Basque chef and largely unknown to most US diners.

Chef Aduriz recently received two Michelin stars and is viewed as one of Spains' most innovative chefs;he is a talented counterpoint to Ferran Adria. He offers a unique, exceptionally harmonius tasting menu that challenges the diners palate. This is his first visit to Chicago. (We have been Mugaritz regulars since 1999 and we think his talents exceed any cook in Spain today; we are even more informed of Adria's talents but view Mugaritz as a chef more knowledgable about the Basque terroir. Chef Aduriz is a comparable culinary talent to Marc Veyrat and Michel Bras of France in his significant knowledge of the edible wild. Granted we are unique diners with great awareness of these European talents, none of whom who have counterparts in the USA.

The other European French talent to visit Charlie's Chicago restaurant is Pierre Hermes who is the most acclaimed pastry chef today hailing from Paris. Charlie has added Wylie DuFresne of WD50 from NY, and Charlies chef from his Baja restaurant in Mexico and also Grant Achatz of Alinea. I have this uneasy feeling I have excluded someone. The apparently sold out July 30th anniversary celebration is slated to include each chefs contribution to the elaborate menu.

The cost for this hopefully extraordinary dinner is $650 per person. The meal reflects the contriubtions of every chef including Charlie in it's, hopefully outstanding tasting menu.

We are attending this dinner primarily because we are close, personal friends of Andoni. We had hoped to introduce him to the best of Chicago's dining experiences.

Charlie controls the Chicago experience of these various visiting acclaimed talents. Hopefully Charlie will treat these chefs to the same experience he granted Ferran Adria and his wife earlier this year.

I pass this on to you not knowing how to evaluate it for eGullet. We will take notes and pictures for this event. We are thrilled that Andoni our most talented friend will be in our city. We want his trip to be memorable. We will see him in September, 2006. I wish so many educated palates here in CHicago could welcome him and partake of his remarkable culinary abilities.

Please use this information for the Heartland audience. Maybe our pictures would be useful to fellow eGulleteers? Do let me know! Judith Gebhart

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Thanks, Judith. The 'heads up' is much appreciated. I can't speak for everyone but if you attend and take pictures, I personally would love to see them.

=R=

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

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Thanks, Judith.  The 'heads up' is much appreciated.  I can't speak for everyone but if you attend and take pictures, I personally would love to see them.

=R=

ditto.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

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- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

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Dined at Charlie Trotter's on Friday night with a couple of friends who really, really wanted to go there. If we hadn't had such a terrific time at Alinea, might be our top dining experience for a while.

I'd last been to CTs a year or so after it opened, and remembered it to be good food, interesting, pretty, but more of a reverential, "please recognize that you are here to celebrate this food" experience. Not such a bad thing, I suppose, and I remember most of what we had back then as being very good. And foie gras was a big part of that menu -- so much on my plate that I couldn't finish it all.

This food was finer, and more 'fancily' (is that a word?) presented than I recall. Standout courses were the stinging nettle risotto with bluefoot mushrooms (such a bright green), halibut with crab and sturgeon roe, and canteloupe with lavender-cured bacon.

The wine pairings included an Austrian (yes, Austrian!) red that makes me want to get my hands on a case of it for here.

Our waiters were terrific, too. When we asked Chris for his email address so we could put him in our daily affirmation loop, and then laughed ourselves sick about it for a half hour, he didn't even miss a beat.

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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FabulousFoodBabe.

Great to hear a good report out of CT.

This food was finer, and more 'fancily' (is that a word?) presented than I recall.
Can you elaborate, please? Do you mean fancy? Or fanciful? I'm really curious because on my one visit to CT a couple of years ago, I found the plating and presentation very simple - almost minimalist.
Our waiters were terrific, too.  When we asked Chris for his email address so we could put him in our daily affirmation loop, and then laughed ourselves sick about it for a half hour, he didn't even miss a beat.

Yes, CT to this day is my gold-standard for excellent service in the U.S.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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FabulousFoodBabe.

Great to hear a good report out of CT.

This food was finer, and more 'fancily' (is that a word?) presented than I recall.
Can you elaborate, please? Do you mean fancy? Or fanciful? I'm really curious because on my one visit to CT a couple of years ago, I found the plating and presentation very simple - almost minimalist.

UE, the last time I went to CT was in the early- mid 90s (I was on business and a client paid, woo hoo!). I remember those presentations as being very spare. But this time, there was a lot of dotting and sweeping of the sauces. Compared to what I recall from the early days, it was a very different look. The flavors on the plate have evolved from, for example, a deconstructed horseradish potato salad to 'Oregon porcini mushrooms with Russian fingerlings and black mission fig sauce.'

And from what I recall in the early years, I found the service to be good but almost intrusive; I felt the experience was more about the food than us, being out on the town and enjoying ourselves. I've no doubt that feeling is because it was such a new thing, at least to me, to be interrupted every 15-20 minutes with a new dish, and to have it described.

Anyway. A very wonderful evening. I almost photographed the meal but the rich uncle across the room was photographing his favorite niece :wink: and their flash kept getting in the way.

Edited by FabulousFoodBabe (log)
"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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Two things,

One, I'd love to hear which menus you had (grand, vegetable, or kitchen table)

two, I was looking at CT's website and am a bit confused about the seating times. The website says SeatingsTuesday through Thursday 6:00 p.m. & 9:00 pm Friday - Saturday from 5:30 p.m. & 9:00 p.m. To me this implies that Tues-Thurs you can only come into the restaurant and be seated at either 6 or 9 and that on Fri-sat you can be seated anytime you wish(w/ reservation) between 5:30 and 9:00? Is this how it works?

I would be interested in hearing why such a restaurant would require a specific time to be seated on the weekdays as opposed to the weekends. I would think the weekends would be busier and it would be easier if they only had to prepare one course for the restaurant at a time. Any thoughts?

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... I'd love to hear which menus you had (grand, vegetable, or kitchen table)

Two of us had the Grand menu; one had the vegetable. Our waiter, Chris, told us that if there was something we really wanted to have, we could substitute a course. I asked if they'd do a side-by-side tasting for each of us. He thought a second and said, "oh, kind of like a yin/yang thing, on one plate? Hmm. Not gonna happen!" :laugh:

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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Last Sunday's anniversary event at Trotter's raised $55,000, ". . . a portion of which went toward the Charlie Trotter Culinary Education Foundation" reports Lisa Lenoir in the August 2nd edition of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Ms. Lenoir also gives a nice shout-out to eGS member Judith Gebhart:

There was Dr. Frank Komorowski's passing around sips of vintage 1951, 1964 and 1985 wines from his Bellevue, Ohio, wine cellar; Joe and Judith Gebhart sharing their passion for Spanish cuisine . . .

In Society

=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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  • 4 weeks later...

We just spent a long weekend in Chicago. On Thursday we had a reservation at Charlie Trotter's. When we got there at 9 pm the hostess informed us that the people who had a reservation for the kitchen table were delayed on a plane and would we like to dine at the kitchen table.

One of the best meals ever. On a par with Per Se. We asked them to give us a printout of the menu because there were so may courses that we couldn't possibly remember them all. They even left some out.

first 11 tidbits (amuses?). Spring Onions with leek sauce, blue fin tuna with candied grapefruit, zucchini blossom and teardrop tomato salad, Santa Barbara Uni with frozen horse radish, hamachi with kalamata olive sorbet and spanish paprika. Pierre Peters Cuvee de Reserve-blanc de blanc. There were more courses but Steven didn't list them.

Next veal heart with picked celery and yellow curry.

White Asparagus with Dragon Beans and summer truffle, Gryber Veltliner Federspiel, rudi pichler Wachau 2004

Loup de mer with tofu, lotus root & hijiki

Celery root soup with confit shallot and pumpernickel bread (outstanding--prepared by chef brett we were told) Meursault "en la barre" francois jobard 2002

Grilled squid with tapioca and meyer lemon. Also baby squid with a black sauce that Steven, our waiter, forget to list on the menu. Sauvignon republic sauvignon blanc, stellenbosch 2005

Whole roasted squab with chantrelle mushrooms & braised sweet onion. Movia pinot nero, brda 2001

Four Story Hill pork loin with porcini mushrooms & elephant garlic. here too Steven didn't list two other pork preparations that were on the plate. Barolo "serralung d'alba massolino 2001

Wagyu strip loin with black cardamom mole, short ribs and quinoa, garric cellars cabernet sauvignon napa 2003

coulommiers with smoked lardon, mache & savory fruit cake, clonakilla shiraz, viognier canberra 2004

brazilian acai with hear of palm & watercress

michigan rasberries with ricotta & fennel, organic peaches with sesame creme & sezchwan peppercorns, raw cashew cheesecake with mango& cashew fruit ganite, duck egg creme brulee with ginger & millet seed tuile, venezuelan chocolate with sour cherries & creme fraiche, colombian chocolate with hazelnut ice cream smoked banana, bodegas gutierrez de la vega "casta diva-cosecha miel" alicante 2004, campbell's "tokay" rutherglen NV

The service was wonderful and the meal incredible!

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This is a belated report/review of Charlie Trotter's 19th anniversary dinner held at his restaurant on July 30, 2006. I have been unable to present both pictures and narrative, I will eventually post the pictures. They give more visual articulation to the intricacies of the dishes which deserve to be seen. Here is my report. I have been reviewing this dinner for the Spanish press which had no US presence for

this unique dining experience.

Chicago’s most internationally renowned chef, Charlie Trotter chose July 30, 2006 for Charlie Trotter’s restaurant’s 19th anniversary celebration to benefit Charlie Trotter’s Culinary Education Foundation. One hundred four wine and food enthusiasts arrived at this urban, upscale Lincoln Park restaurant, all tantalized by the remarkable roster of six young talented guest chefs Charlie invited to cook with him. The invited chefs hailed from USA, Mexico and European destinations.

The invited Chicago chefs included chef Grant Achatz of his restaurant Alinea, Chicago’s most celebrated chef practicing molecular gastronomy in his kitchen; chef Achatz also possesses a dazzling and daring palate ; chef Michael McDonald of restaurant C; he interprets the best of Charlie’s cooking for his C restaurant in Baja, Mexico.

New York chef Wylie Dufresne of his restaurant wd-50, successfully explores the challenges of molecular gastronomy in his highly personal cuisine, and in Chicago again, the celebrated cuisine of Charlie Trotter himself.

Two European chefs added their own unique contributions to the dining experience.

Chef Andoni Aduriz of Mugaritz, a two starred Michelin chef and author from the Basque country in Spain produced the two most stellar savory dishes of the evening. Chef Aduriz demonstrated his incomparable culinary skills, his pitch-perfect palate, his encyclopedic knowledge of edible plants both cultivated and wild and his genius for integrating flavors and textures into gustatory and visual masterpieces. This was his first occasion to cook in the USA.

Pierre Herme an acclaimed pastry chef and author, has his own pastry shop in Paris, France. Chef Herme provided the two intricately flavored, seductive sweets, marking the finale to the dinner.

The wines from the Isole e Olena winery were presented by the winemaker himself, Paolo De Marchi of Piedmont, Italy. Five different De Marchi’s wines were offered with various dishes, one Chardonnay, three very good reds and one Vin Santo.

: Here is the grand menu:

Grant Achatz of Alinea restaurant, Chicago: amuse bouches: Tempura Prawn, vanilla bean handle, Smoked Paprika encased peach almond, Puffed Porcini, toasted garlic, parsley served with Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Brut NV

First course: Alaskan Dungeness Crab with Amazake and Sake sorbet by Michael McDonald of the restaurant C in Baja, Mexico served with Ruinart Brut Rose NV

Second course: Octopus, Orange Soil, raw Asparagus, Chamomile Yogurt by Wylie Dufresne of wd-50 restaurant, New York City, NY ( a fried duck skin is included in this dish) served with Martinelli “Martinelli-Dry Select” Gewurztraminer, Russian River, 2004

Third course: Representing Mini Mozarellas: Buttery Idiaziabal Cheese Gnocchi in Salted Iberian Pork Bouillon with Contrasting Vegetables by Andoni Aduriz, of Mugaritz, Basque Country, Espana served with Sancerre Chateau de Sancerre 2005

Fourth course: Confit of Wild Salmon with Sweet ’n Sour Duck Gizzards & Curried Duck Liver Jus

by Charlie Trotter served with Isole e Olena Chardonnay, 2004

Fifth course: Smoked Eel, Peanuts, Snow Peas, Whipped Caramel by Wylie Dufresne of wd-50, NY

served with the Chianti Classico Isole e Olena, 2003

Sixth course: A Seasonal Interpretation: Rack of Lamb, Truffle and Walnut “Marzipan”, Touches of Fern, Cocoa & Lime (this is a translucent, crisp flavored tuile accompanying the lamb) by Andoni Aduriz, of Mugaritz, Basque Country Espana served with Isole e Olena “Ceparello” 2001

Seventh course: Grass-Fed Virginia Veal: Tongue, Cheek, & Sweetbread with Twenty Four Hour Sunchokes & Red Wine-Licorice Emulsion by Charlie Trotter served with Isole e Olena Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 (this dish was less than bite sized veal cooked items)

Eighth course: Sesame Shortcrust with Red Pepper & Raspberry Compote, Parmesan Cream & Tuile by Pierre Herme, Paris France served with Jurancon “ Les Jardins of Babylone” D. Dagueneau & G. Pautrat 2004 (an extraordinary dulce wine)

Dessert course: Ispahan- Gelee of Rise & Lychee, Enrobed in Dark Chocolate with Raspberry Ganache and another variation of these flavors by Pierre Herme , Paris France served with Isole e Olena 1998 Vin Santo del Chianti Classico

As diners, we have repeatedly enjoyed and charted Charlie’s ascent to an internationally acclaimed chef. Charlie’s talents continue to hold the attention of diners from all over the world.

Younger chefs have now captured the interest of serious diners from Chicago and elsewhere. Chef Grant Achatz of Alinea is the culinary star that shines the brightest today in the Chicago scene. The race for excellence continues in Chicago from many talented contenders and they are being addressed by local diners.

Unlike many serious diners from the USA, we discovered chef Andoni Aduriz at Mugaritz seven years ago. We were astonished with his skills, creative energy and knowledge from our first memorable, elegantly executed dinner.. We have returned again and again to dine at his Basque country restaurant. His meteoric rise as one of Spain’s most extraordinary young talents is uncontested.

We have dined once at Wylie Dufresne in NY last year, 2005. Chef Dufresne’s clever, witty, delicious concoctions offered the diner some intellectually challenging taste treats. Wd-50's ambience is casual, noisy and informal; the food is very serious with a very modern menu. It’s not white table clothed dining!

We have no knowledge of Chef Michael McDonald’s abilities.. He is the primary chef at C restaurant in Baja, Mexico. C stands for Charlie (Trotter).

Grant Achatz of Alinea was minimally represented. His three bite- sized appetizers were clever and very tasty, but not memorable. .

The Dungeness Crab dish of Michael McDonald was exceptional. His talent is noteworthy. The crab had Asian highlights with a Japanese cress and a delicious sake sorbet.

Octopus, orange dust, and raw asparagus with fried duck skin was a curious, confusing flavor combination. Chef Dufresne’s efforts didn’t excite us at all.

The mini Mozarella dish, with its buttery Idiaziabal cheese gnocchi in the heavenly perfumed Iberian pork bouillon with the tiny toothsome vegetables was a perfect balance of textures and flavors. A memorable dish, exquisitely executed. Chef Aduriz’s first dish demonstrated his immense culinary prowess.

Confit of wild salmon with sweet ‘n sour duck gizzards and curried duck liver jus was the most enticing, creative item on the menu from Charlie Trotter. This unique combination was a treat for the diner. This was evidence of Charlie’s educated and ever evolving palate.

Chef Dufresne’s second dish of smoked eel, peanuts, Snow peas and whipped caramel was a huge taste treat. This dish worked. The flavors married successfully. A taste delight and quite surprising. Dufresne’s talents were evidenced in this dish.

A seasonal interpretation: a rack of lamb with truffle and walnut “marzipan”, touches of fern, cocoa (bean) and lime. This was Andoni Aduriz’s tour de force for the evening. The crisp, translucent delicious tuile of fern, lime and cocoa accompanied this perfectly conceived dish. The rare cooked lamb with the truffle and walnut marzipan was an ingenious combination. It was another extraordinary taste sensation without comparison.

Grass- fed Virginia veal: tongue, cheek and sweetbread with twenty four

hour sunchokes and red wine-licorice emulsion: another savory dish by Charlie Trotter. A dish artfully presented. A wide triangular shaped swath of terra cotta colored sunchoke and red-wine licorice emulsion accurately depicted this dish with the three veal bite sized items in each of the corners of the triangle. Each tiny cooked veal morsel was overdone and indistinguishable from the other. The licorice red wine flavor was interesting and unique. The dish was less than satisfying.

The unusual combination of a sesame shortcrust with a red pepper and raspberry compote with a parmesan cream and tuile was a dulce tour de force. Unusual pairings that delight the diner; this understated sweet dessert offered a complex, unique and satisfying group of flavors providing an exceptional finish to the meal. The macaroons were less interesting and more pedestrian than the sesame shortcrust red pepper and raspberry dessert.

A taste of Mugaritz was savored for the first time by many diners at Charlie’s restaurant on July 30, 2006. We hope that many will travel to the Basque country to visit Mugaritz for one of his unique and exceptional tasting menus. It will be one of the finest dining experiences they will ever encounter. Judith Gebhart, Chicago Illinois. 60614-4520

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  • 4 weeks later...

OK - we finally made it to Chicago, and to Charlies. Highlights? Well. some of the dishes were stunning - steamed salmon with duck gizzards in yellow curry sauce (yep, we thought the same....) turned out to be genious. The choc pud matched with Bodegas Castanos 2003) was genius.

We went for the 'Grand Menu' with matched wines. Looked good.....But............$598 for two???!!!! Wow........there are many London restaurants I can think of where you can eat a whole lot better. AND if you go for menus with wines you get more than the miserly splash of wine at the bottom of each glass too. Service was slightly bizarre in that we had four (maybe 5?) different waiters attending - it was almost a new face per course!

In summary - not convinced. It had its moments but really, if you're gonna charge these prices you need to raise your game!

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Have to provide a breakdown of the $598 bill - pretty simple really......2 'grand menus' $290 (there is no a la carte, so its 'grand' menu or veggie equivalent), accompanying wines at $170, service $83, tax $55.

can't be too specific about the wine pairings I'm afraid, other than to say the most interesting aspect was the wide-ranging geography - ie including Austria, Chile and Spain. But on relfection I think it would have been better to have selcted a single bottle - the wine list is extensive and even at Trotters $170 gets you something very decent.

I am curious to know what the cost breakdown was on that $598 price tag.  Does that include tip?  What is the current cost of the menus?  How about wine pairings?  I appreciate the reply.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I prefer WD-50 and Nobu over Trotter's. I was not impressed by the food or the service. They probably were just having a bad night... :wacko:

Chicago is a lovely town though.

----------

Saturday, September 2, 2006

Grand Menu

Amuse Gueule

Japanese Hamachi with Roasted Bell Pepper, Kalamata Olive Sorbet, Spanish Paprika & Basil Oil

Alaskan King Salmon with Bok Choy,

Sweet and Sour Duck Gizzards & Yellow Curry Sauce

Whole Roasted Squab with marcona Almonds, Kinome Seeds, Sweet Onions & Morel Mushrooms

Colorado Lamb Loin & Rach with Quinoa, Black Cardamom Mole & Ash Baked Eggplant

Cantaloupe with Preserved Melon Rind & Lavender Cured Pork Belly

Michigan Raspberries with Riccotta & Fennel

Mignardises

----------

Some pictures from the meal, some may be a little blurry (apologies).

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