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[CHI] L.2O - Laurent Gras


allenkelson
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I'll try and write a more detailed review when I have some time as we are heading back to NYC today.

The meal at L2O last night was nothing short of amazing. I would put it in the top 5 meals I have ever eaten.

We did the 12 course tasting menu, and from the moment we entered the restaurant, the experience was sublime. The service is outstanding. Everyone is intelligent, knowledgeable and a pleasure to interact with. As you can see from the photos above, the space is really modern and clean. You dont feel like you are on top of other diners.

The staff strike the difficult balance between being there when you want to, and disappearing when you want that too.

As previously mentioned, the wine list is excellent. There are reasonably priced choices in both half and full bottle sizes. The sommelier really knew his stuff, and our waiter had more than a working knowledge of the ingredients for each dish.

As for the food, where do I begin. It was really exceptional. There was not a single dud, or even something that wasn't great at any point in the meal.

This was the antithesis to our Alinea experience. Chef Gras is definitely pushing the envelope but in a way that allows you to be anchored to food that really tastes great. My wife and I who have eaten at great places throughout the world, enjoyed flavors and textures that were brand new to us. The tasting menu was ingeniously planned, and had a real flow to the courses.

I'll try to write more later about specific dishes, but this is a place that is not to be missed!

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Wow, the dishes look really amazing - thanks for the great report! (I guess I'll have to spend more time in Chicago, than I planned...)

I don't want to get to off topic, but being from germany there is one thing that strikes me, when I look at all those pictures from US-restaurants (and especially the ones in chicago!): everything looks hyper-modern, with sharp lines and geometric patterns, the favourite coulor for the interior design seems to be black&white&beige, with some touches of glass, chrome and polished wood. The waiters are dressed in sharp-black and the favourite colour of the diners seems to be black, too. In other words: everything and everyboy looks incredibly "cool" (I hardly see a waiter or diners smile...).

I just find this funny, because in germany (and as far as I remember in italy and france, too) restaurants rather try to establish a "warm" and "cozy" atmosphere in the coulors and designs they chose.

I may have a totally wrong impression, but even though the dishes from restaurants like L20, Alinea etc look absolutely *fantastic*, the look/atmosphere of the restaurants themselves rather "scares" me off...

But as I said - this is off topic. I just got to me, looking at those L20-pictures...

greetings

kai

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Wow, the dishes look really amazing - thanks for the great report! (I guess I'll have to spend more time in Chicago, than I planned...)

I don't want to get to off topic, but being from germany there is one thing that strikes me, when I look at all those pictures from US-restaurants (and especially the ones in chicago!): everything looks hyper-modern, with sharp lines and geometric patterns, the favourite coulor for the interior design seems to be black&white&beige, with some touches of glass, chrome and polished wood. The waiters are dressed in sharp-black and the favourite colour of the diners seems to be black, too. In other words: everything and everyboy looks incredibly "cool" (I hardly see a waiter or diners smile...).

I just find this funny, because in germany (and as far as I remember in italy and france, too) restaurants rather try to establish a "warm" and "cozy" atmosphere in the coulors and designs they chose.

I may have a totally wrong impression, but even though the dishes from restaurants like L20, Alinea etc look absolutely *fantastic*, the look/atmosphere of the restaurants themselves rather "scares" me off...

But as I said - this is off topic. I just got to me, looking at those L20-pictures...

greetings

kai

There is most definitely a "modern" aesthetic at a lot of these restaurants that can come across as a bit cold to those who don't like that style. However, I found the staff at L2O were very warm and friendly.

In my experience traveling through Europe and going to similar level restaurants, there were a good number of places that had a similar design aesthetic.

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In a word: wow

We had a simply stellar meal at L2O last night. Stellar in every way possible. Food, service, presentation, everything.

We did the 12 course tasting menu. I'm glad we got to try so many dishes, but honestly when (not if) I go back I'm going to do 4 courses. As great as everything was, I actually found myself getting seafood fatigue towards the end of the savory portion of the menu. I don't know if it was the portion sizes or getting confronted with staggering greatness on almost every course or what, I just couldn't take any more.

Anyway, we had a number of the same dishes that appear on the tasting menu that yellow truffle has posted above. Pork belly was included on our tasting menu instead of being an add-on. The codfish was sent out by the kitchen and did not appear on our tasting menu. The other dishes we had that were the same were:

Hokkaido scallop (which was actually proceeded by another scallop dish...both were fantastic)

Morels - I don't like mushrooms and I loved this dish

Halibut - Our halibut came with a side of emulsified potatoes that were probably the best mashed potatoes I've ever had (I'm talking Robuchon mashed potato good)

Bass - Good, but very rich

Pork belly - Honestly, I wasn't as over the moon about this dish as I thought I would be. It probably had a lot to do with the fact that it was our second to last savory course and I was getting full. I still managed to eat the whole thing though.

Shabu shabu - The placement of this dish in the tasting menu is nothing short of brilliant. Last night this was the last savory course (following the pork belly and coming right before the carrot/orange pre-dessert). It's brilliant for three reasons. First, the reappearance of raw fish brings the savory portion of the meal full circle, which is really neat on an emotional level. Second, the fact that you do lightly cook the fish provides a nice bridge out of the more substantial courses that you're served immediately prior. Third, the flavors of the last couple of savory courses are so strong and distinct that the delicateness of the shabu shabu provides you with an opportunity to "come down" if that makes any sense.

As to the dishes that were different, I don't have our menu in front of me but there are three dishes in particular that I found particularly striking:

Tuna and foie gras - See what happens when a chef gets to work with all clubs in the bag? This was a perfectly formed, solid cylinder of absolutely beautiful finely chopped tuna served alongside a torchon of foie gras. When combined, the slight saltiness and the fattiness of the foie gras played perfectly off of the richness and sweetness of the tuna. Stunning

Kinmedai - Big eye snapper served raw that had been lightly cold-smoked in house. Not only did this taste great (you're not going to get better raw fish in Chicago than what you get at L2O, it's not even close), but this was one of the more visually striking dishes we had. The meat of the raw fish was faintly purple. Small edible purple flowers were scattered over the top of the fish. This is probably one of the few times I wish I had a camera with me because it really was a beautiful plate.

Sea urchin, sea urchin - Uni served in an uni/lobster sauce and/or emulsion (sorry for the crummy description, the person who presented this dish didn't seem to know a whole lot about it). Just insane. The wife had never had uni before. After her first bite she looked up at me and said, "this tastes like the ocean." It did, and it was wonderful.

Service was just about perfect. I would have liked some additional explanation of some of the dishes, but that's just me being geaky. The sommelier Chantelle could not have been more engaging and picked a perfect bottle of Chablis that took us through our entire meal (it was a school night, so we took it easy).

At the end of our meal one of the partners in the restaurant gave us a full tour of the space. The tatami rooms are really cool. One is set up to only seat two people. My guess is that this will become a highly sought after spot for marriage proposals. The kitchen also has all sorts of cool gadgets.

So, the inevitable question is where does L2O fit in the pantheon of Chicago fine dining establishments? I think it's hard to say. In the top 5? Absolutely. In the top 3? Probably. I liked L2O way more than Tru and Charlie Trotters. Probably not as much as Alinea and I haven't been to Avenues under Duffy yet.

One of the things that makes L2O so impressive is that for the food to be at the level it's at, the ingredients have to be perfect. Not just very good or excellent, perfect. With a lot of these dishes, there's nowhere for an inferior piece of fish to hide. In that regard L2O is dealing with a very high degree of difficulty that has to be recognized when evaluating the restaurant.

One final thought - I went into this dinner prepared to compare L2O to Le Bernardin in NYC. Now having eaten at both, the comparison can be made only to the extent that they are both 4-star restaurants that specialize in seafood. That is where the comparison stops. L2O is far more modern and takes the asthetic portion of the dining experience far more seriously than Le Bernardin. It's actually pretty difficult to compare L2O to any restaurant I'm familiar with (maybe Alinea, maybe Per Se, but there are problems with each comparison).

The bottom line though is that this is a spectacular restaurant and we are extremely fortunate to be able to add L2O to the already outstanding roster of restaurants in this city.

-Josh

Now blogging at http://jesteinf.wordpress.com/

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One final thought - I went into this dinner prepared to compare L2O to Le Bernardin in NYC.  Now having eaten at both, the comparison can be made only to the extent that they are both 4-star restaurants that specialize in seafood.  That is where the comparison stops.  L2O is far more modern and takes the asthetic portion of the dining experience far more seriously than Le Bernardin.  It's actually pretty difficult to compare L2O to any restaurant I'm familiar with (maybe Alinea, maybe Per Se, but there are problems with each comparison).

Josh, thanks for that report.

Although doc quibbled with my use of words, as I had hedged upthread:

I just had a (fantastic) dinner at Le Bernardin.  With the exception of the inclusion of meat dishes, it does seem, from reading the menu and seeing your photos, that L.20 is more akin to Le Bernardin than to, say alinea.  I can see how the presentation/plating of the dishes might remind one of Achatz's aesthetics, however.

That being said, it *seems* to me (having never eaten at L.2) that a comparison to both Le Bernardin and alinea seems inadequate, if not inappropriate.

Of course, I was speculating. But, it seems that you agree that the aesthetic and repertoire of L.20 is not significantly similar to either Le Bernardin or alinea.

Was the restaurant full? Is L.20 going to be the next insanely difficult reservation to get?

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

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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Great write-up, Josh and one with which I thoroughly agree -- top 5 for sure. I posted my impressions about opening night at L.20, along with some images, here.

=R=

Edited by ronnie_suburban (log)

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Of course, I was speculating.  But, it seems that you agree that the aesthetic and repertoire of L.20 is not significantly similar to either Le Bernardin or alinea.

Was the restaurant full?  Is L.20 going to be the next insanely difficult reservation to get?

Probably closer to Alinea than Le Bernardin, but again, not really comparable to either.

The restaurant was not full, but I don't think they're taking reservations for the full dining room yet (I think they've only opened a little more than half of the 20 or so tables). I'm not sure whether it will be insanely difficult to get in or not. My sense is that it won't be that hard to get in until you start seeing more MSM coverage of the restaurant. Once the Chicago Magazines Phil Vettels of the world start coming out with their reviews, this could become a very difficult reservation (not Schwa difficult, but probably about the same as Alinea).

-Josh

Now blogging at http://jesteinf.wordpress.com/

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Of course, I was speculating.  But, it seems that you agree that the aesthetic and repertoire of L.20 is not significantly similar to either Le Bernardin or alinea.

Was the restaurant full?  Is L.20 going to be the next insanely difficult reservation to get?

Probably closer to Alinea than Le Bernardin, but again, not really comparable to either.

The restaurant was not full, but I don't think they're taking reservations for the full dining room yet (I think they've only opened a little more than half of the 20 or so tables). I'm not sure whether it will be insanely difficult to get in or not. My sense is that it won't be that hard to get in until you start seeing more MSM coverage of the restaurant. Once the Chicago Magazines Phil Vettels of the world start coming out with their reviews, this could become a very difficult reservation (not Schwa difficult, but probably about the same as Alinea).

Yeah when we were there, they told us that they were only operating at about 50% capacity as they get up to speed.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This is another restaurant that I was anticipating eagerly. I had been to "fifth floor" a couple of times before and I had always enjoyed it. For comparison purposes, I dined at "Alinea" two months ago and I have also dined at "Bernardin" on several occasions.

We had the 12 course "Spring" menu with wine pairing.

I think this is the most beautiful restaurant in Chicago. Flawless. My only problem was the music, a little bit too "spa" for my taste, more conducive to massages and pilates than food.

Also, the service was top-notch and perfect for me. Attentive, exactly rigorous, professional but also relaxed.

The wine selection was ok, nothing spectacular and a few strange choices (Barolo anyone?).

Regarding the comparisons between Achatz and Ripert and L20....IMHO, it tries to combine elements from the two different schools and the result for me, unfortunately, is far from felicitous. The standouts for me were the Halibut and the Morel-Asparagus. I did not enjoy the pork belly or the King Salmon. And does every dish need a pouring of some liquid? And I thought the soufflé would be something different, but it was a classic soufflé. Nothing new at all and that is why the comparisons with the two Chefs above are a stretch.

I am going back in a couple of months and I will report back. I am very surprised at all the kudos. My menu was different than the one reported above but still....Maybe I was there on a bad night. (It was pretty empty, btw). Hopefully, next time I will be able to report more positive news.

l

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After a couple weeks of being open, I had another opportunity to try out some more Chef Gras' creations. This time around we (a party of six) are going with the four-course menu, and order a couple of items to share. The four-course is separated into; Raw, Warm, Main, and Desert. Each of these offers a wide range of selections numbering from 8-12 dishes. Although the items on the four-course sounded great, I was interested in the a la carte selections. The restaurant was ever accommodating and allowed us to create our own four-course menu, at (I believe) an extra charge. In substitution for the Raw and Main courses, I went with the Shellfish Platter and the Miyazaki Wagyu Beef - both of which were amazing choices. But before we got to those we had to wade through 4 amuses and an extra course. In total we ended up having 15 courses.

- Hokkaido Scallop (amuse 1)

- Foie Gras (amuse 2)

- Monk Fish Tail (amuse 3)

- Oyster and Caviar (amuse 4)

- Ossetra Caviar (extra 1)

- Shellfish Platter (course 1)

- Burrata Cappelli (course 2)

- Miyazaki Wagyu Beef (course 3)

- Green Tea Ice (pre-dessert 1)

- Chocolate Effervesce (pre-dessert 2)

- Soufflé (both grand marnier and praline) (dessert 1)

- Passion Fruit Marshmallow (dessert 2)

- Chocolate Raspberry (dessert 3)

- Pistache Macaroon (mignardise 1)

- Canelé (mignardise 2)

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- Hokkaido Scallop (amuse 1)

20080528_l2o-02_005.jpg

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- Foie Gras (amuse 2)

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- Monk Fish Tail (amuse 3)

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- Oyster and Caviar (amuse 4)

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- Ossetra Caviar (extra 1)

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- Shellfish Platter (course 1)

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- Burrata Cappelli (course 2)

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- Miyazaki Wagyu Beef (course 3)

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- Green Tea Ice (pre-dessert 1)

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- Chocolate Effervesce (pre-dessert 2)

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- Soufflé (both grand marnier and praline) (dessert 1)

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- Passion Fruit Marshmallow (dessert 2)

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- Chocolate Raspberry (dessert 3)

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- Pistache Macaroon (mignardise 1)

20080528_l2o-02_071.jpg

- Canelé (mignardise 2)

20080528_l2o-02_073.jpg

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The Foie Gras amuse was atop a half sphere of raw tuna and served with brioche toast points on a toast rack (I just love toast racks). The buttery smooth foie provides a wonderful contrast to the tender tuna, that brings a wonderful combination to the second one bite'r. The Monk Fish Tail is another new item on the amuse and it does not disappoint, with a tomato meringue and concassé. This time around, Chef brings out the Oyster (winter point variety) amuse with Ossetra caviar and a lemon grass gellee. Speaking of Ossetra caviar, we had another go at their caviar, tuna and avocado dish. Same great taste as before, but twice the price from opening night. Definitely worth getting as a splurge item. If these amueses have not enticed you, their bread service sure will. This has not changed from opening night.

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Now the big'ies. The Shellfish Platter was chosen, from the a la caret menu, as a substitution for my first course. This dish is a display of "shock and awe." On one, Martin Kastner designed dish, Chef brings 12 (that I could count) different shellfish items. From what I can recall they are; sea urchin, winter point oyster, penn cove oyster, maine lobster, santa barbara shrimp, stone crab, soft shell crab, hokkaido scallop, mussels, little neck clams, and octopus, all of which are topped over a lemongrass oyster foam. The items on this dish change depending on availability, so your mileage may vary. It was enjoyable trying out various shellfishes and the portion was just right so as to not make one jaded by the experience. If you are a shellfish aficionado, this one is for you.

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Burrata Cappelli, a fish course with clams and mint leaves. This already wonderful combination is brought together with a broth of Jamón. The flavor combinations were very refreshing - spring like. The cappelli is so very light and delicate that the texture is reminiscent of a folded gnocchi. For me the experience of the dish was, the flavor and texture of the fish, followed by slight hit of the Nepitella mint, and finishing with the smooth subtle flavor of the broth of smoked Spanish ham.

20080528_l2o-02_069.jpg

And for the last savory dish, the Miyazaki Wagyu Beef blows everything out of the water. L.2O has a focus on seafood, but has not left the land lover out of the picture. Last time we had the Pork Belly as an extra course, and that experience left me wanting to try out Chef's other non-fish items. This Japanese beef was just out of this world. First of all the quality is superlative. And the technique was, IMHO, one of the best that I have ever had. This small portion, maybe 4-6 ounces, was just seared and then plated with the garnishes (which although tasty, paled in comparison to the beef), and sushi (vinegar'ed) rice. The searing was done so well that each bite seemed to have a very thin crispy skin to it. Even tough there was a layer of fat at the outer most part of the meat, the fat marbled itself into the rest of the cut. Every bite was succulent.

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After the display of savories, and before the desserts, the kitchen brings out some pre-desserts (intermezzo). The Chocolate Effervesce was a one bite item that had a 'pop-rocky' finish. Refreshing, but a little too bitter (almost medicinal) for me. My dessert was the Chocolate Raspberry. Made with Guanaja chocolate, this dish has over 10 components of chocolate and raspberry. Of the items that I could recall; raspberry gelee, raspberry sorbet, raspberry meringue, dark raspberry ganache, and cotton candy.

20080528_l2o-02_087.jpg

And just incase you were still hungry, they have the mignardise. A pistachio Macaroon and a Canelé. The macaroon was sooo good, that I was having a Ratatouille flash back moment to the Champs-Elysées, eating a macaroon by Pierre Herme. The Canelé is a traditional pastry item from Bordeaux, with a caramelized outer shell. Tasty, but I could have had another go at the Macaroon.

Once again, another great L.2O dining experience. I was glad to go back and try out items that I had not had before, confirming the Chef's creativity and talent. This time around Doug was our sommelier, who provided us with a few great selections. As the restaurant's (somewhat) dynamic menu allows the diners to make their own tasting totally custom, the wine pairing program is catered similarly, with the sommelier providing a few recommendations throughout your meal. In fact, a few of us were having a junmai ginjo sake (can't recall the label), midway through our savory courses. Pretty tough on the FOH folks, but they pulled it off quite well. Our captain was Christina who performed her job in the most professional and expeditious manner. In the end (after being in the restaurant for 6 hours), she presented us with menus and breads for each of us (I believe these were ordered by our dinner host).

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L.2O is a restaurant that is very professional, but has the ability to change gears and cater the experience to the diner. In the end we had a lot of fun, even though we were there for a while (at no fault of the restaurant). It has been said that dining with me adds an extra 30% time to your dinner... well I sure did not want to disappoint.

20080528_l2o-02_093.jpg

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Following are some other images that my dining companions were having.

Santa Barbara Shrimp (red pepper, raspberry, cucumber)

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Lamb Loin (rhubarb, tomato, cubeb pepper, zucchini)

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Hawaiian Sea Bass (green olive, lemon, white grit)

20080528_l2o-02_036.jpg

Rhubarb (dessert)

20080528_l2o-02_061.jpg

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The food is all very architectural. There are domes and columns...

Gorgeous photos, yellow truffle. I'll have to go back and actually read what you wrote now.

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

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Magnificent work as usual, YT, on what appears to be an amazing meal! You certainly whet my appetite.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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yellow truffle, for a first-timer, alone, would you suggest the tasting or going for the 4-course?

Would that answer change if I went with more people?

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

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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yellow truffle, for a first-timer, alone, would you suggest the tasting or going for the 4-course?

Would that answer change if I went with more people?

Obviously YT has been there more than me so I would defer to his opinion, but I thought that the tasting got a bit overwhelming by the end of the savory portion of the menu. Next time I will definitely go for the 4 course (and maybe add a course).

-Josh

Now blogging at http://jesteinf.wordpress.com/

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The food is all very architectural.  There are domes and columns... 

Gorgeous photos, yellow truffle.  I'll have to go back and actually read what you wrote now.

Thank you. Really the writings are not that great. The food photos are much better.
Magnificent work as usual, YT, on what appears to be an amazing meal! You certainly whet my appetite.

Thanx John.
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yellow truffle, for a first-timer, alone, would you suggest the tasting or going for the 4-course?

Would that answer change if I went with more people?

Obviously YT has been there more than me so I would defer to his opinion, but I thought that the tasting got a bit overwhelming by the end of the savory portion of the menu. Next time I will definitely go for the 4 course (and maybe add a course).

I would agree with Josh. For a solo guest, I would suggest that you do the four-course. Although the 12-course is doable, it does get a bit long. Especially since 4 or 12 is rarely the actually number you get. Think around 2 amuse, 1 pre-dessert, and 2 mignardise. Therefore that 4, may be 8+, and the 12, at least 16.

After having said all that, if I was a solo diner, and don't get to Chicago often, I would go with the 12, and prepare for a long night. Remember that the menu should change seasonally. If you bring your posse with you, get the four. Make sure you bring guests who are willing to share plates, then get different ones, so you can cover a lot of bases.

In my experiences, the 4-course ended up being 15, with two extra orders, and took 6 hours. The 12-course became 23, with three extra orders, taking almost 7 hours. Note that this was with me, which usually adds a little more than most diners. I am sure the staff can accelerate the service to accommodate your schedule.

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Thanks for the great report and gorgeous pictures yellow truffle! (I start to panic now that I realize how many restaurants I want to try out on my chicago-trip.....)

Just one question regarding the number of courses: even if one doesn't count the extra course, your 4-courses turned into 14 courses, including 4 amuses, 2 pre-desserts and 3 (!) regular desserts...

Are they always that generous (the dessert-course turning into 3...!) at L2O or was it because you ordered expensive extra/substitute dishes or are known at the restaurant or something like that?

Also, could someone comment on the selection and price-range of the wine list? How are the prices if you go for wines by the glass with each course?

Thank you!

best

kai

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Thanks for the great report and gorgeous pictures yellow truffle! (I start to panic now that I realize how many restaurants I want to try out on my chicago-trip.....)

Just one question regarding the number of courses: even if one doesn't count the extra course, your 4-courses turned into 14 courses, including 4 amuses, 2 pre-desserts and 3 (!) regular desserts...

Are they always that generous (the dessert-course turning into 3...!) at L2O or was it because you ordered expensive extra/substitute dishes or are known at the restaurant or something like that?

Also, could someone comment on the selection and price-range of the wine list? How are the prices if you go for wines by the glass with each course?

Thank you!

best

kai

We had the 12 course and they were very generous so I think its the style of the restaurant.

Regarding the wine, I dont remember exactly, but we did a half bottle and then some by the glass. I think there were wines in the 12-20 per glass range and then obviously much more but dont quote me on that

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Magnificent work as usual, YT, on what appears to be an amazing meal! You certainly whet my appetite.

Thanx Doc. We've got a seat for you when you are in town.

Thanks. Next time, I'm in Chicago, I will be there! Now I have to work on making it sooner rather than later.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Thanks for the great report and gorgeous pictures yellow truffle! (I start to panic now that I realize how many restaurants I want to try out on my chicago-trip.....)

Just one question regarding the number of courses: even if one doesn't count the extra course, your 4-courses turned into 14 courses, including 4 amuses, 2 pre-desserts and 3 (!) regular desserts...

Are they always that generous (the dessert-course turning into 3...!) at L2O or was it because you ordered expensive extra/substitute dishes or are known at the restaurant or something like that?

Also, could someone comment on the selection and price-range of the wine list? How are the prices if you go for wines by the glass with each course?

Thank you!

best

kai

Thanks, Kai. Chicago has many memorable restaurants, and I don't think you will go wrong this one. Just make sure that whatever restaurant you decide on, that you make reservations way in advance to lock in your seating.

The four and twelve course menus came with a few extras that were not counted into the overall package -- note that on my visits, we tend to order a few extras. We also ended up sharing a few of the desserts, such as the soufflé, so it might look like another course. Remember that these extras (amuse, pre-desserts, mignardise, etc.) are usually one bite courses.

Now we just had the tatami room experience, which is based on a Japanese kaiseki. The actual number of courses have not yet been established, but we eneded up getting having 18.

The wine program is totally customizable. There are; wines by the glass, bottles, and wines paired with you meal -- our tatami room experience, we had wine, sake, and beer paired with our meal. I can't really comment on the prices (don't have the receipts in front of me). But if cost is a concern, perhaps you can ask for half pours -- the regular pours are generous and I usually cannot consume every glass presented.

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