a tasteful acquaintance

sepiabanner  examiner com

123 N Jefferson St
Chicago,  IL 60661
Telephone; 0312-441-1920
Executive Chef; Andrew Zimmerman
Modern American, $$$ – $$$$

Let us go back to July last year and my 7 days visit in Chicago!
Fantastic week, but a little more sunshine than I could ask for .. it was hot-HOT.

I always put my big spender trouser on for one evening when I away on holiday … when everything goes. Had my eye one the best restaurant in Chicago during of 2012 .… “GT Fish & Oyster” on N Wells St. Have friends that been there and they always come back talking about the place.

When I wanted to book it had to be over “Open Table” and no tables available for the next 3 months, so I contacted the restaurant by their email and explained my story .. and asked if they could squeeze me in.
Didn’t hear anything back, which I think was very weak.  How hard is it send a “no, we’re sorry” .. on an email. So that restaurant fell of my list for good.

Chicago have far too many good restaurants and never had a meal that I haven’t felt was worth it’s money.
So witch one should I spend my bank account on.

sepia page 1

I had been checking out “SEPIA” over internet since 2009 when they open up – so I went for it, a little restaurant that also supposed to be one of Mr President and Frist Lady’s favorite restaurant.

“SEPIA” is built from an 1890 print shop. A very rich and lush interior design – mixture of rustic, sleek, comfort and contemporary with Art Nouveau flooring – a very elegant restaurant with a great eyes for details.

They say about themselves that they are a restaurant that serve tradition with a twist. In 2011 was “SEPIA” was the raising star on Chicago’s gourmand sky.

I was received with a warm and relaxing welcoming – the place wasn’t busy, it was on a Tuesday evening. 5 tables taken in the area of the restaurant where I was sitting. Felt really very well taken care of as soon I step out of my taxi.

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My waiter, Benjamin .. a very pleasant young man – that explained the cocktail menu, a killer menu and they are famous for their cocktails. I decide to go for one of their specialties, Sepia Mule (ginger infused vodka, lime and ginger beer). A very delightful and light cocktail.

Benjamin was so proud over that he was working at “SEPIA” and that I think is a so nice, when the employees are ambassadors for their employers – he talked so warmly about the team and the owner. I have always been so proud over my employer that I was with for nearly 35 years, so I knew exactly how Benjamin felt. He really enjoyed his work and proud over it.

As a starter I chose the shrimp salad; that came on a bed of baby gem, cucumber, radish and fragranced with a dill buttermilk dressing. Beautiful presented, like a piece of art and so delicate. I was so pleased with my choice.

For main course I went for the lamb loin, crispy lamb neck, eggplant, chickpea and vadouvan. I want to explain what vadouvan is – a spice mix, also called “French Curry” – used for gourmet cooking. Inspired by the Indian masala, it contains onion, garlic, cumin, fenugreek, cloves, brown mustard, turmeric, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and curry leafs. Absolutely a divine spice mix.

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With my lamb dish I had a side order duck fat pan fried potatoes, there is nothing better to pan fry in than duck fat. Nothing gives a color like duck fat does and the crispiness.
My main course was superb, could have licked the plate.

For my wine I went with a big glass of Anima Negra ÀN/2– an excellent deep red Callet wine with hints of fresh vegetables. Very delicious and silky. A wine that are only produced on the Island of Mallorca, Spain.

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During my main course Benjamin came over to me with a glass of wine … offered by a gentlemen sitting at a table together with his wife. A wine merchant – and he had overheard when I was telling Benjamin that I was from Sweden. One of the gentlemen’s best friend was Swedish and living in Gothenburg, and they had been visiting Sweden many times. A really fantastic wine and a wonderful gesture. I should have written down the name of the wine and of course I should have taken the gentleman’s name – but we never came around to that. The wine was from Argentina, that I often drink wine from.
“SEPIA” have a extensive wine cellar – wine from all over the world, like reds from Austria – wide range of wines that suite every wallet.

My finale touch was a melted milk chocolate mousse on peanut butter crunch and pestle barks and I couldn’t chose anything more gorgeous – it was a perfect ending. Of course I had a cappuccino to go with it – and I also invested in a sparkling mineral water with my starter and main.

sepia - followmefoodie com

The evening didn’t empty my bank account – the total bill came to $112.97/730.00SEK/£71.50/€83.90 and Benjamin got $25.00/161.50SEK/£15.85/€18.55 for himself.
I asked Benjamin if he could recommend a restaurant of his choice and he gave me “Lula Café”2537 N Kedzie Blvd – at Logan Square, a place where he and his wife often goes to … I never came around to visit – Checking on the net and “Lula Café” has fantastic reviews, so it is on the top of my MUST list for the next visit to Chicago.

“SEPIA” is a wonderful place and also a very romantic place, now when Valentine coming up. A beautiful and tasteful acquaintance that I wouldn’t had liked to been without, in 4 words; delightful, define, elegant and rustic.

“God Bless the Child” I have chosen as cloud for this post, because that is what “SEPIA” has for their website, they use a pimped Billie Holiday version – but I couldn’t find it – so I go for Billie’s original version instead.
“God Bless the Child” is written by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog, Jr. in 1939 and recorded in 1941.

“When you go to a restaurant,
the less you know about what happens in the kitchen,
the more you enjoy your meal.”
Jeffrey Wright

Chef Andrew Zimmerman and Mixologist Josh Pearson of Sepia - Chi

Photo provided by and thanks to:
Page 1: sepiachicago.com
Page 2: chicago.about.com/notcot.org/chicago_quantas.com.au/thekitchen.com/
Page 3: vandouvan.com & annegra.com
Page 4: sepiachicago.com & chicago.seriouseats.com

26 thoughts on “a tasteful acquaintance

  1. Been there!
    I personally love Andrew Zimmerman, many of my trips I’ve planned around his food suggestions in other countries.
    And that song, ohhh Viveka that song is just perfect for what I’m doing right now (drinking a bottle of wine and reading blogs)

    • Don’t know a lot about Andrew – have to have a closer look at him. SEPIA is a very special place.
      She sings it brilliant … and she are not professional as such, not recorded. Enjoy your wine .. and the posts.

  2. Viveka, it sounds so wonderful. Something I really miss about being up in the high country are excellent choices in restaurants. It’s always a drive to get to one near us. I shall live vicariously through your adventures. I lived in Boston and literally I track my days there over three years with all the fabulous food I ate. What a selection of choices they have. Never been to Chicago. Must go one of these days.

    • Susan, Chicago … makes my heart beat harder – it has everything plus it’s friendly and very “chat-ful”. Click on my Chicago tag .. and I will take you there.Boston is a fantastic food city too and a wonderful city in the Spring with all those blooming magnolia trees. Planning to go back to Chicago soon.

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