So the latest feat of marathon, high-end eating I've conquered was in Chicago where I was fortunate enough to enjoy one of the more outstanding meals I've had lately. Definitely the most outrageous. The restaurant, Tru, is the brainchild of chef Rick Tramonto. I was turned on to him by my old chef and mentor, Henrique SaPessoa from Portugal. When I went to visit him last September, the only thing he wanted me to bring from the states was a cookbook from Mr. Tramonto. Henrique is one of the most genius chefs I know, and suffice to say, my interest in Mr. Tramonto was more than piqued after this request.
The restaurant is very modern, sleek and opulent at the same time. However, we bypassed the dining room for a "secret" private room downstairs in the kitchen. Our waitress/cruise director of the night asked us if we had any food allergies or aversions. We clued her in on Mike's Brazil nut allergy and then were placed completely in the hands of Chef Rick. Our waitress warned us that we were in for something wild. I lost count after about 11 courses (each one had a wine, so I'd say lasting that far was impressive.) Every course after the first two amuse bouche utilized the same ingredient for the two of us, but prepared in a different way; so we got to share and experience twice as many things. I was quite impressed to say the least -- that's a hell of a lot of work and every plate came out flawless. I got a copy of them menu to post in all its glory:
French Onion Soup Spoon GelÃ©e
Sashimi of Fluke with Ruby Red Grapefruit, Yuzu and Hawaiian Hearts of Palm Salad with Coconut
PurÃ©e of Cauliflower with Italian Black Pearl Osetra Caviar, Cauliflower Confit and Lemon Zest
New Zealand Langoustine with Thai Chili, Lemon and Watercress
Roasted New Zealand Langoustine with Baby Carrots, Turnips, Fennel and Langoustine Jus
Duck Bouillon with Duck Prosciutto
Veloute of Duck with Duck Confit
Atlantic Striped Bass "a la plancha" with Sea Urchin, Preserved Lemon, Uni and Citrus Jus
Grilled Atlantic Striped Bass with Razor Clams Casino, Bacon, Clam and Spinach Sauce (This was the star of the evening)
Farro Risotto with Braised Oxtail and Foie Gras, Fried Shallots and Red Wine Beef Jus
House-made Farfalle with Chicken Wing Confit, Bayonne Ham and Foie Gras Glaze
Roasted Prime Midwestern Beef Ribeye with Braised Beef Short Ribs, Glazed Pearl Onions and Crispy Bacon Lardons (this mammoth of a combination was mine and I think it was at this point that I thought I was going to die, but it was a good pain)
Grilled Prime Midwestern Beef Ribeye with Fondant Potatoes and BÃ©arnaise Reduction
Then they wheeled in a cheese cart with 15 cheeses. Five goat's milk, five sheep's milk, and five cow's milk. The cheese expert told us about each one, and then we were instructed to pick four, along with a selection of breads, biscuits, fruit and nuts. I picked five and sampled all the side wares. Really thought I was going to die at this point. Either from gluttonous indulgence or sheer happiness we'll never know.
Then we had a palate cleanser of coconut-ginger-lime juice. Delicious, light and just what the glutton's doctor ordered.
Then the dessert(s)
My plate had a trio of:
Cappuccino Semifreddo with Spiced Tuille and Gold Flecked Sauce
Macadamia Nut Upside Down Cake with a Quenelle of Some Sort of Ice Cream (I was still eating, but not quite lucid at this point)
Bread Pudding with Honey Ice Cream
Mike's had a trio of:
Five Spice CrÃ¨me BrulÃ©e with a Macerated Fig
Chocolate Molten Cake with Thyme Ice Cream Quenelle
Lemon Panacotta with Mixed Berries
Then they sent us two soufflÃ©s:
Chocolate Smores with Ghram Cracker
Cream Cheese with Raspberry Coulis
Then two of Gale Gand's whimsical mini root beer floats -- so good
Then we had a cart wheeled out of truffles and lollypops to choose from.
Then they had to wheel me out.