123 N Jefferson St
Chicago, IL 60661
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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