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inventolux

Moto Restaurant - Chicago

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Hello fellow Heartlanders!

Just got back from dinner at Moto w/my wife. Truly outstanding! It's kind of late so I'll be somewhat brief in my recap & can expand on it later. I wanted to bring my digicam but I wasn't able to, so I'll try to describe the courses the best I can.

My wife & I are acquaintances of Chef Cantu & his wife. So we have been eagerly anticipating our Moto dining experience.

We had the 18 course tasting.

1) A study in flatware

Chef Omar has patented his own flatware for this course. the shaft of the flatware is coiled to house within a sprig of rosemary. So, when you eat the food that is on the flatware, you get the essence of rosemary without it actually being in the food. There were 2 pieces of flatware. The first had a citrus salad with citrus emulsion. The second had a pear salad with sous vide scallions. It was really neat to experience the essence of the rosemary without it actually being in the food.

2) Sashimiesque plate with blue fin toro

There were 4 parts to this dish. There was a slice of toro with a layer of tuna puree (I believe) and yuzu. The other piece of toro had a citrus emulsion as an accompaniment. There was a slice of salmon with ikura (salmon roe). Lastly, sous vide scallops that were dusted with nori powder & sliced. Everything in this course was really clean and fresh in taste. The toro was outstanding & the scallops had an incredible texture.

3) fennel salad in hot jellied, slushy & natural forms

Here we had a mixed green salad with vinaigrette & sous vide radish. I really liked the radish. It was served with 2 little ramekins. One had fennel slush & the other had cubes of jellied coconut, squash, and spinach. You eat this dish by mixing and matching the items.

4) watermelon soup, frozen mustard powder & virtual smoke

Before they bring this course to your table, they bring a metal box that emits a smoky scent at your table. The frozen mustard powder is on a spoon & eaten first. Then the watermelon soup, which is a combination of sweet, smoky & spicy. There is a mango-olive oil emulsion that rims the bowl of the soup and carrot ice in the soup as well. This was fantastic!

5) caramelized cucumber sorbet

2 little scoops of sorbet on top of marinated cucumbers. Then a cucumber olive oil soup is poured into the bowl.

6) a duck roll pull apart

everything up to this point had been somewhat 'light' & clean in flavor. This was the first 'rich' dish & it did not disappoint. A mound of duck confit & pureed duck (if i'm remembering correctly) is served with a fried wonton cylinder. You break the cylinder to release a sweet/sour soy sauce into the duck & proceed to eat. Really good stuff!

7) citrus & togarashi

this was a nice palate cleanser. Lime sorbet withtogarashi & toasted almond. Then the server sprays a togarashi mist all over the dish.

8) rice injected with our secret sauce

jasmine rice ball surrounded by nishiki rice, surrounded by a jalepeno crust. The server uses a syringe to inject the secret sauce into the rice ball. I love rice, so this dish was right up my alley.

9) more blue fin toro with yuzu & organic soy

At this point they brought out a silicone box with a piece of fish in it. More on this below. On top was a spoon with little cubes of toro coated with the sauce.

10) bass cooked inside a cavity of pacific oceanic products

This is one dish that is better seen than read about. There is a piece of bass that is cooking inside of a silicone box. In the base of the box is water with aromatics (konbu, bonito, lemon zest, etc) & the box has retained enough heat to cook the piece of fish at your table. The server brings a plate that has konbu, oyster emulsion & pureed sunchoke. The fish is taken out of the box & put on your plate. This is an amazing piece of fish. The texture is incredible.

11) wood poached pork belly with curry

Sous vide pork belly served with curry sauce & a pork rind crisp. Amazingly tender pork belly with a subtle, smoky flavor that's enhanced by the curry. I love pork belly & I loved this dish.

12) oregon kobe beef with sapporo head

slices of Kobe beef, cooked using the triple sear method, served with foam made from Sapporo beer. Delicious morsels of beef.

13) Juniper & gin

A soda with foamy head with the flavor of juniper.

14) beets, parsnips & branch water

This is a dessert. Little pieces of cake made with beet, served with roasted parsnip ice cream. It's served with a glass of rosemary branch water. This dish was so good. It's hard to picture this dish from the description, but it's really good...probably one of the best desserts I've ever had.

15) saffron & cardamom

saffron ice cream in cardamom soda. Like a root beer float but so much better.

16) chocolate rice pudding made your way

Crisped rice with homemade marshmallows in a dish that you pour liquid bittersweet chocolate into.

17) white truffled ice cream spaghetti

A spoonfool of ice cream in 'spaghetti' form bursting with the flavor of white truffle.

18) moto to go

haven't tried this yet. we got a little vacuum-packed pouch. one compartment contains a chocolate powder. The other contains a clear liquid. Apparently, when you mix the liquid into the powder, it turns into a foamy drink!

Sorry folks if this recap is a little scattered. I wanted to post this while it's still fresh. I'll try to fill in any holes later.

Bottom line: an amazing dining experience. Way to go Inventolux!

(edited for really poor typing skills & additional details)


Edited by viaChgo (log)

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Please somebody post a picture - anything - Chef, toss us a bone!

OK - language difference maybe - scallions sous-vide in the flatware - what do you mean by that? You mean the scallions were cooked sous-vide and then placed in the flatware?

I just speechless - I can't believe that Chicago - where I grew up - is ready for this kind of cuisine - very cool.

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OK - language difference maybe - scallions sous-vide in the flatware - what do you mean by that? You mean the scallions were cooked sous-vide and then placed in the flatware?

The shaft or stem or whatever it's called is coiled to hold a sprig of rosemary. Then on the tines of the fork or the bowl part of the spoon is where the pear salad is. The scallions are sous vide, then mixed with the pear. Then you eat in one bite!

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The scallions are sous vide

I'm sorry, I don't understand. The scallions were cooked sous-vide? And if so, how do you know - is it stated on the menu? I ask because some cooking terms and techniques I learned in France so I don't know the American usage. Like at ADPA for example, we cooked a number of items in sous-vide sacs - but it was never evident in the final plating. Thanks - sorry - but this is the kind of restaurant that we're going to ask endless, psychotically-detailed questions about!

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You will find that the chef at Moto is very much a fan of cooking sous-vide.

Sounds like an interesting place. I'd love to check it out.


--

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The scallions are sous vide

I'm sorry, I don't understand. The scallions were cooked sous-vide? And if so, how do you know - is it stated on the menu?

The server told us in his explanation that the scallions were cooked in the sous vide method. There were quite a few items during the course of the meal that were cooked in this method.

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Please somebody post a picture - anything - Chef, toss us a bone!

OK - language difference maybe - scallions sous-vide in the flatware - what do you mean by that? You mean the scallions were cooked sous-vide and then placed in the flatware?

I just speechless - I can't believe that Chicago - where I grew up - is ready for this kind of cuisine - very cool.

We have our photographer coming in next tuesday and will be adding pics to our website. We also have a vitual tour of the restaurant that should be up and running by the end of feb. I will also be updating the menu daily on the website when I write our menus for daily service so you will get a daily account of everything happening at moto. Chat later, my fish requires attention.


Edited by inventolux (log)

Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu

Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant

www.motorestaurant.com

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:cool:

We haven't set up the specific date yet, but Ronnie and his wife and I are looking at some time in the next two months. You in, Nero?

:biggrin:

You didn't invite me, but I want in on that. Where Nero goes, I go.

Congratulations Invento and Hobbes. I know you have been working very hard. I can't wait to see what you've done with the place.

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very disappointing meal i must say, sad that it lacked any talent or flair, waitstaff has a lot of attitude,sad, i really wanted this place to suceed. really sad


"Burgundy makes you think of silly things, Bordeaux

makes you talk about them, and Champagne makes you do them." Brillat-Savarin

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very disappointing meal i must say, sad that it lacked any talent or flair, waitstaff has a lot of attitude,sad, i really wanted this place to suceed. really sad

The competition speaks! Please expound.............impassively please.


Edited by GordonCooks (log)

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very disappointing meal i must say, sad that it lacked any talent or flair, waitstaff has a lot of attitude,sad, i really wanted this place to suceed. really sad

Perhaps you should try it again, my experience was mindblowing. I have dined at El Bulli, Michel Bras & Pierre Gagniare and I can say with total confidence that this place is on its own level. From the "virtual smoke" box, to the bass baked tableside, everything was truly delicious and very inventive. I have reservations twice next week and I cant wait. I have already dined there twice and recieved 2 totally amazing experiences worth every cent.


Edited by niterider (log)

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:cool:

We haven't set up the specific date yet, but Ronnie and his wife and I are looking at some time in the next two months.  You in, Nero?

:biggrin:

You didn't invite me, but I want in on that. Where Nero goes, I go.

:biggrin:

Oh hell's bells, YES, ma'am -- if I didn't make it clear, anybody who's interested is welcome! Only one proper and honest warning: I'm setting up to review the place and whoever's in is gonna have to put up with my usual scribbling and cooing and purring and snarling and muttering.

:raz:


Me, I vote for the joyride every time.

-- 2/19/2004

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15) saffron & cardamom

saffron ice cream in cardamom soda. Like a root beer float but so much better.

This sounds incredibly good.


Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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I have dined at El Bulli, Michel Bras & Pierre Gagniare and I can say with total confidence that this place is on its own level...I have reservations twice next week and I cant wait.

:shock:

There isn't any need in your life for a food taster/PA/butler is there? :wink:

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Interesting that there are such differing reviews here.

Lady T, I'm waiting for yours. It will be good to see what you think and live vicariously through your experience. Take lots of pictures!

To the chefs: best of luck with your new venture. The menu appears to be highly creative and I applaud you for that.


What's wrong with peanut butter and mustard? What else is a guy supposed to do when we are out of jelly?

-Dad

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I just speechless - I can't believe that Chicago - where I grew up - is ready for this kind of cuisine - very cool.

Chiacgo has been privy to this cuisine for over two years.

It is called Trio and it is in Evanston.

Seems like alot of influence on Motos menu came from Chef Achatz. :hmmm:

Just a thought.

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:cool:

We haven't set up the specific date yet, but Ronnie and his wife and I are looking at some time in the next two months.  You in, Nero?

:biggrin:

You didn't invite me, but I want in on that. Where Nero goes, I go.

:biggrin:

Oh hell's bells, YES, ma'am -- if I didn't make it clear, anybody who's interested is welcome! Only one proper and honest warning: I'm setting up to review the place and whoever's in is gonna have to put up with my usual scribbling and cooing and purring and snarling and muttering.

:raz:

Scribble away, grand Lady. It wouldn't be a true meal with you if you weren't scribbling. I wouldn't have it any other way.

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I just speechless - I can't believe that Chicago - where I grew up - is ready for this kind of cuisine - very cool.

Chiacgo has been privy to this cuisine for over two years.

It is called Trio and it is in Evanston.

Seems like alot of influence on Motos menu came from Chef Achatz. :hmmm:

Just a thought.

Klinger:

How are you?

OK, I feel the need to comment on this now while it is still in it's early stages. I have said this before, when people commit to work outside of the box they unintentionally enter a smaller box. I assure you Moto's cuisine is as original as Trio, as the Fat Duck, as Veyrat, as Gagnaire and so on. So chef Cantu has attached rosemary to silverware, does the intentional olfactory sensation become a link to Trio's lobster with rosemary vapor. NO. When something is new it is scrutinized, analyzed, and deconstructed. People will find the common demoninators where they want. They will try to imobilize the movement. They will corrupt the style to the point where they disable themselves from enjoying a wonderful meal because they overthink it. Please, go to Moto, come to Trio, these are restaurants that are taking risks, introducing a style of cuisine new to this country. We should all be happy that Chicago is now leading the country in culinary innovation.


Edited by chefg (log)

--

Grant Achatz

Chef/Owner

Alinea

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OK, I feel the need to comment on this now while it is still in it's early stages. I have said this before, when people commit to work outside of the box they unintentionally enter a smaller box. I assure you Moto's cuisine is as original as Trio, as the Fat Duck, as Veyrat, as Gagnaire and so on. So chef Cantu has attached rosemary to silverware, does the intentional olfactory sensation become a link to Trio's lobster with rosemary vapor. NO. When something is new it is scrutinized, analyzed, and deconstructed. People will find the common demoninators where they want. They will try to imobilize the movement. They will corrupt the style to the point where they disable themselves from enjoying a wonderful meal because they overthink it. Please, go to Moto, come to Trio, these are restaurants that are taking risks, introducing a style of cuisine new to this country. We should all be happy that Chicago is now leading the country in culinary innovation.

Chefg, nice post. It's nice to see a little comradery in this competitive business.

You've got class my friend :biggrin:

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Klinger:

How are you?

OK,  I feel the need to comment on this now while it is still in it's early stages. I have said this before, when people commit to work outside of the box they unintentionally enter a smaller box. I assure you Moto's cuisine is as original as Trio, as the Fat Duck, as Veyrat, as Gagnaire and so on. So chef Cantu has attached rosemary to silverware, does the intentional olfactory sensation become a link to Trio's lobster with rosemary vapor. NO. When something is new it is scrutinized, analyzed, and deconstructed. People will find the common demoninators where they want. They will try to imobilize the movement. They will corrupt the style to the point where they disable themselves from enjoying a wonderful meal because they overthink it. Please,  go to Moto, come to Trio, these are restaurants that are taking risks, introducing a style of cuisine new to this country. We should all be happy that Chicago is now leading the country in culinary innovation.

chefg - I cannot agree more with your comments. Coming from the wine side of things this is the same problem cutting edge winemakers experience. Everyone wants you to belong in a box. As a writer I succumb to this all to often in trying to construct articles - you tend to put what people do into a box in an attempt to communicate easily. Those of us who are writers should be inspired by chefs and winemakers that expand horizons and incorporate that same passion in our writing.

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I want to be clear that I was not taking a stab at Chef Homario or Moto, nor did i intend to, but was just stating my observations

Grant Thanks for the post,

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:cool:

We haven't set up the specific date yet, but Ronnie and his wife and I are looking at some time in the next two months.  You in, Nero?

:biggrin:

You didn't invite me, but I want in on that. Where Nero goes, I go.

Congratulations Invento and Hobbes. I know you have been working very hard. I can't wait to see what you've done with the place.

And where Ronnie and Julie and Susan and Nero and Dawn go -- I feel honored to trail along --if the date's out a couple of months.

And, my Lady, if you were not planning to take your notebook, I'd make you write notes on, say, the back of my phone bill. You remain, seriously, my favorite restaurant reviewer.


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Congratulations, Inventolux and Hobbes!

I happen to walk by Moto most every day now, since you're located in Chicago's Fulton Market district. This neighborhood is akin, I believe, to NYC's meatpacking district--lots of wholesale butchers and trucks milling around at 4 A.M. Some of the buildings are being converted into residential lofts, but the neighborhood retains a gritty, interesting feel.

I can't wait to join the rest of the Heartlanders when we dine there.

Anyone remember the scene at Chez Paul in The Blues Brothers? :laugh:


There are two sides to every story and one side to a Möbius band.

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

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      6. At Trio we found ourselves using the salamander a great deal. It is very useful for melting sugar, bringing on transparent qualities in things like fat and cheese, cooking items intensely on only one side, and it is a highly controllable non-direct heat source. Due to the air gap between the foodstuff and the heat elements the cook can control the degree of heat applied to the dish based on the technique he is using. It becomes a very versatile tool in the modern kitchen, so much so that we will install three Sodir infrared salamanders.

      Again, this is to insure that all the cooks have access to all of the techniques in the kitchen. As I said before it is important for our cooks to be able to sauté, simmer, poach, fry, grill, salamander, and freeze at the same time and sometimes for the same dish.
      We have a few unusual pieces of equipment in the kitchen; the most is probably a centrifuge. A few months ago Nick and I were driving home from a design meeting and ended up talking about signature dishes and menu repetition. Of course the black truffle explosion came up and he asked if I would have it on the menu at Alinea. I replied a firm no, but shortly thereafter said I would enjoy updating it. We threw around some tongue and cheek ideas like White Truffle Implosion, and Truffle Explosion 2005….I said it was a goal of mine to make a frozen ball with a liquid center….but then dismissed it as nearly impossible. Within a few minutes he said …”I got it…we need a centrifuge” His explanation was simple, place the desired liquid in a spherical mold and place on the centrifuge…place the whole thing in the freezer. Within days he had one in the test kitchen. I guess this is better suited for the kitchen lab topic that we will be starting in a few weeks…
      We are working on a upload of the kitchen blueprints. When those post I plan on going into more detail about certian aspects of the design. Doing so now would be pointless as the viewer does not have a reference point.
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