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Moto Restaurant - Chicago


inventolux
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Ate at Moto on Wednesday with a party of four. What a wonderful experience! The food was amazing, the service was impeccable and very enthusiastic and friendly.

I did not take pictures, but am sorry I didn't because some of the courses pictured in the thread look quite different from what I had, although the descriptions are identical.

Given the gentle cooking most of the dishes had, I was amazed at how intense the flavors of the food were. In addition to the inventive flavor combinations and the innovative plating, I think this is the most surprising meal that I ever had. I couldn't wait to see what was coming out of the kitchen next, and although I was completely full at the end of eleven courses I was sad when it was over.

This is the most fun I've had eating a meal. I can't wait to go back!

“How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?”

-Julia Child

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i would consider this to be one of the greatest restaurants in chicago if they served bread

all kidddings aside i ate a meal at moto several weeks ago and i was treated to the full moto experience. chef homaro came out and inquired about our meal; very kind of him.

it was quite a "trip" which started symbolically with a piece of "blotter" hidden underneath the tablecloth. we where clued in to said "blotter" by a magical inflating balloon with a message inside.

the food was inventive and i think it was at times more novel than "good," but certain dishes like the duck stood out as sublime. one of the gastronomic highlights for me was the 1976 porto that we were served at the end of the meal.

jennifer aniston was there and possibly brad bitt; i couldn't tell if it was him.

the service was very good; the style was in line with the food.

the music got on my nerves a bit. like malysian atmospheric drum n bass or something.

i would recommend moto to anyone interested in gastronomic experiences, but i would be curious as to how many would be rushing to repeat the experience.

isn't there a tolerance build up to these trips?? doesn't one have to wait for a prescribed amount of time before one can expect the same effects? or is the first time always going to be the best...

good luck and best wishes for a happy new year to the moto team.

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i would consider this to be one of the greatest restaurants in chicago if they served bread...

...i would recommend moto to anyone interested in gastronomic experiences, but i would be curious as to how many would be rushing to repeat the experience. 

isn't there a tolerance build up to these trips?? doesn't one have to wait for a prescribed amount of time before one can expect the same effects? or is the first time always going to be the best... 

good luck and best wishes for a happy new year to the moto team.

Interesting point. I think only Wylie Dufresne in New York has actaully found a way to have an "innovative" bread service. He serves what looks like very, very thin carta di musica sprinkled with sesame seeds. I believe the dough is stretched and stretched before being baked. It's very delicious.

I can't remember how far apart my two Moto visits were. Certainly four months. I was prepared a slightly special menu (I think) as there was only a small amount of duplication to what I had eaten before. That said I remember looking at the standard GTM and thinking that it had changed. Perhaps I'm just flattering myself to think that mine was any different!

I think the secret is to take someone different for your second visit. Or eat by yourself occaisonally. Moto also does a number of different menus so you could go back more regularly and perhaps just have the smallest menu. Luckily the best thing about Moto is that the food actually tastes really good; while I see your point about some of dishes perhaps being "novel" I defy anyone not to want the seabass cooked tableside every single time they go. And once I've seen food levitate I'm sure it won't be a once in a lifetime thing.

Admission: I reread my favourite book every year so I might have a higher tolerance than some for repeating sublime experiences.

Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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i would recommend moto to anyone interested in gastronomic experiences, but i would be curious as to how many would be rushing to repeat the experience. 

Interesting question. I've never done this kind of meal twice - but I'm pretty inexperienced in this field (Trio and Moto - and I haven't made it back to Trio for obvious reasons). I am certainly looking forward to going back to Moto, but after thinking it over, I think I'll wait a while, so the menu I try is different from the last time.

Having said that, I have to admit that I did come very close to making a return visit to Moto last week...but my more sensible side thought better of it. Still, I am itching to return. I agree with Tarka that going with someone different might be fun as well. I'll see what I can work out...

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We now serve garlic bread with some beef as a savory main. Im all about bread, just not THAT bread. It has its place, in a tasting menu, its place would be too filling for the diner to adequetely explore all menu items without feelin like a turducken.

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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i would recommend moto to anyone interested in gastronomic experiences, but i would be curious as to how many would be rushing to repeat the experience. 

Interesting question. I've never done this kind of meal twice - but I'm pretty inexperienced in this field (Trio and Moto - and I haven't made it back to Trio for obvious reasons). I am certainly looking forward to going back to Moto, but after thinking it over, I think I'll wait a while, so the menu I try is different from the last time.

Having said that, I have to admit that I did come very close to making a return visit to Moto last week...but my more sensible side thought better of it. Still, I am itching to return. I agree with Tarka that going with someone different might be fun as well. I'll see what I can work out...

I agree that it's an interesting question. In fact, I think it's a key question in trying to gauge whether or not these avant garde restaurants will ultimately survive (in Chicago). I haven't been to Moto but I was blown away by my meal at Trio under chefg. Still, the experience was similar, for me, to theater and I compared the possibility of returning to Trio to that of seeing a play for a second or third time. Personally, I'd rather wait until the show changes to return.

In this regard, I believe that seasonal menu changes and other, regularly-made evolutions are the key to acquiring a base of sustainable, repeat business. From what I've heard and read about Moto, this shouldn't be an issue. The same will likely hold true for Alinea. I believe that there are a lot of diners out there who are willing to try something like this once. But it's (generally speaking) a very high price point to have a repeat meal.

But I also think Tarka's observation about varying one's dining-partner combinations (or even dining alone) is a solid one. This type of dining is far more experiential than simply "taking a meal" and if the diner changes his surroundings, he's bound to change his overall experience --or his perception of it -- as well. I should also point out that I'm talking about the landscape now. In 10 years, what we today define as avant garde may not be perceived to be as unconventional by the general dining public.

And Ted, the answer to your question is yes. This issue of Chicago Magazine is at the newsstands now (or last time I checked, anyway).

=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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Maybe I'm stretching Ronnie's theatre comparison too far...but here goes.

I saw "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind" at the Neo-Futurium (after a very poor meal at La Tasche. Dale had already gone to Trio Atelier, just no-one told me) "Too Much Light..., with its ever-changing "menu," is an attempt to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes... Each short play is written by a performer, honed by the ensemble, and randomly collaged with twenty-nine other plays through high-energy audience participation. Each week, these plays shift as ensemble members add new plays to the existing body of work." (from their website)

I don't think I'm stretching my analogy too far by seeing comparisons in the TDF and GTM menus at Trio and Moto. It is my sense that both chefs are constantly innovating and creating new dishes, much like the Neo-Futurists. I may be well wide of the mark here, but I think if you ate at Moto on January 1st and went back on February 1st, there would be some change to the menu, but the spirit and ideal would be the same each time you ate there.

BTW, am happy to be a tummy for hire if anyone wants a new face to eat opposite at at Moto. Assuming I'm in Chicago and not London. Unless you want to pay my airfare ;-)

Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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I saw "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind" at the Neo-Futurium

I don't think I'm stretching my analogy too far by seeing comparisons in the TDF and GTM menus at Trio and Moto. It is my sense that both chefs are constantly innovating and creating new dishes, much like the Neo-Futurists.

Never thought of it that way, but I'm a big fan of the Neo-Futurists, and it's an excellent analogy.

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i forgot to add that chef homaro was very kind to make the "hot ice cream" for us, in spite of the fact that it was not on the menu for the night.

it was quite strange seeing an opaque ball with what looked like fog drifting around it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Moto is even being talked about in Dallas - as is eGullet too. Nancy Nichols from her "Front Burner" column in today's D Magazine (scroll down):

The epicurean world, and I use the term loosely here, has hit a new low/high. In response to my earlier post concerning “chefs” who are serving flavored photographs of food, several FrontBurnervian Foodies responded by quipping: “NASA has always been known for its space cuisine, good to see other people catching on.” “Hopefully the menu has fewer calories than eating your own words.” But then comes a serious, eGullet-posting FBFoodie who loves the stuff. I ask him. “So, at Moto in Chicago,you get a piece of paper on a plate with a photo of food and you eat the paper?”

=R=

Thanks to Scott-DFW for sending this along.

"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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A quick question for Chef Cantu,

Is the lounge a more "approachable" way to experience your cuisine without commiting to a tasting menu or is it a segue into a dining experience with you? Or is it both?

BTW It is a really inviting looking space.

Patrick Sheerin

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More media buzz surrounding Moto. Chicago Magazine's Dish reports this week that Chef Cantu will be appearing on NBC's Today Show on Monday, January 31.

Break a leg, chef! :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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Are we fine dining? Yes, however I feel the days of strict dress codes are fading. If im about to drop 350.00 for two I want to wear anything I want.

If I am about to drop $350.00 on dinnner for two, I want to be surrounded by pleasant, quiet, well-dressed people. I want it to be an occasion and I want the people around me to look as if they thought so, too.

Along with the sense of occasion, dinner out at that price point suggests a whole lot of other things I felt were integral to the experience, but I found I was ranting when I started to list them. Yikes.

That said, I can't wait to get to Chicago and try Moto.

((I hope I posted this readably; I'm having a hard time figuring out the interface here.))

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$350, $150, $50, $5...it doesn't matter...the dollar only represents a level of regard for whats happening within those few precious hours that you are in the dining room...i guess its a matter of modesty...some people walk with their noses up, and others just walk with their heads up...i agree that the "jacket recommended rule" will become obsolete...and i also believe that its completely acceptable for it to become extinct BECAUSE if a gentleman wants to wear a jacket and tie, that's great! he looks that much better because of it...but my button-down shirt sitting next to your jacket will not change the taste of the food. my sweater alongside your tie will not alter the dining room. and if you are in a jacket and tie, rest assured that i will not bother your dining experience...just don't look down on me, because you'll only be teaching me THAT MUCH MORE about human beings.

there is no "class-system" when it comes to fine dining.

"When it comes down to it, at the end of the day, its all about the food. Isn't it?"

-Chef Marco Pierre White-

and by the way...i can't wait til my next meal at moto.

trevor williams

-culinary student/professional at Kendall College-

eGullet Ethics Signatory

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This is very interesting. At Waterstone, I want people to feel as if they've walked into a living room, with a fireplace blazing, and they are among friends.

Yet, to draw an analogy. In my former life, I was a Shakespearean actor and director. Much of my directorial work was concerned with the ability of theater to be artifice and truth; the paradox of how fantasy can be more real than reality. I deliberately sought to elevate the time and place to be theater, so that all senses of the audience could leave behind the world of street noises, ambulances, prosaic mutterings, and hone in on the reality taking place on stage, say, in Hamlet's opening lines. I did this by construct - whether by building a huge, black wall behind the back row of seats, such that to get to the seats, all patrons had to climb up, rise to and in front of said wall structure to enter - and turning back, saw nothing of their entryway, so that the only option was to turn towards the stage and take it in. Theater. Not life, but if done well, perhaps life as it might be viewed through a prism - all colors bright and clear, piercing truth, transcendent and lasting reality.

Now, to fine dining. A certain dress code not to make class distinctions, but perhaps to acknowledge that there is a certain element of theater, of focussed attention here - not eating at home, but a certain elevation of the senses, a certain respect for Occasion.

Of course, never enforced, at least at our place - because more often than not, the baseball hat and jacket wearing guest has a palate that is eminently developed, his or her love for food is patently clear, and his or her money is as green as the suited patron. But I understand the thoughts about a certain dress code.

Paul

Edited by paul o' vendange (log)

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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There is a great thread at LTH Forum documenting a group meal at Moto earlier this week.

You can read about how the event came to be here and here.

=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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I TiVo'd "The Tonight Show" on both Monday and Tuesday and no sign of Chef Cantu. Did I just miss a brief glimpse of him during my TiVo fast-forward? Jay Leno annoys me no end, so perhaps in my eagerness to avoid Jay's nasal intonations did I miss the whole point of my efforts?

Did anyone see the segment?

Thanks!

“How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?”

-Julia Child

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I TiVo'd "The Tonight Show" on both Monday and Tuesday and no sign of Chef Cantu.  Did I just miss a brief glimpse of him during my TiVo fast-forward?  Jay Leno annoys me no end, so perhaps in my eagerness to avoid Jay's nasal intonations did I miss the whole point of my efforts?

Did anyone see the segment?

Thanks!

Sorry to say that it was the Today Show (with Al Roker et al) not the Tonight Show! I tivo'd it and it was pretty good. As you can imagine, they dwelt on the "hey, isn't this food weird!" aspect of things, but it was an entertaining segment and I thought Chef Cantu came across very well.

Edited by VeryApe77 (log)
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There is a great thread at LTH Forum documenting a group meal at Moto earlier this week.

You can read about how the event came to be here and here.

=R=

Ronnie, glad you linked this, I wasn't sure if I was allowed to! :wacko:

The pictures make me very keen to return to Moto (I'm shooting for mid-March)! And that Racoon dish (and the story behind it) is great.

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  • 2 weeks later...
nice article in the trib this past sunday

I and my google bot seemed to miss it -- and today was recycling day so the Sunday paper is gone. :sad:

Do you have a link?

=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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