On June 24, my husband and I celebrated out 10 year anniversary. We got married at 25, and spent years working and traveling and having fun before we had our son in 2007. We were going to go on a trip to celebrate but decided to stay local. I had Thursday and Friday scheduled off when I accepted the new position, so I got to relax and enjoy!
Thursday night we went to L2O. It’s a restaurant in Chicago that was started by Chef Laurent Gras. Chef Gras is French, but has traveled all over the globe and this restaurant has much Japanese influence. We sat in the tatami room which was a private room for the two of us. We had a Kaiseki-inspired tasting menu which was made up of 14 courses. We also each had one of their signature cocktails, and shared a bottle of Frog’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc. We had to take off our shoes before entering the private room and you sat on the floor with your feet below you in a sunken hole in the room under your table.
The menu was amazing, and I pretty much liked it all. My husband had a few things he wasn’t fond of, but not many.
Click on the menu below to view it….
My husband ordered a Strawberry and Basil Caipirinha for his cocktail. He said it was the best drink he’s ever had… fresh organic strawberries, and who knew basil would be so good in a sweet drink?
I had a Lemon and Thyme martini that they had a name for … Mediterranean something. It was good, but my husband’s was better.
The butter dish they brought out was the coolest thing… and the butter was churned there at the restaurant.
Our server (dressed in a kimono, and who solely waited on us alone) would bring out fresh silverware for each course. This fork even had it’s own resting spot!
My husband and I both voted that the Morel with English Pea was probably the best dish. The mushrooms themselves practically tasted like steak.
The Diver Scallop, seared and then poached in butter was also amazing. You can tell because I started eating and then decided to take a picture.
A favorite dish of mine was the Lamb Tartare and Shiro Ebi (raw sweet shrimp). It was topped with this flower, and real edible gold. Just beautiful.
The next course was something I was dreading… Foie Gras. Yep, something I have never liked the taste of, and I also don’t believe it’s a very ethical way of treating animals. I was happy when they banned Foie Gras from Chicago, but apparently it’s back… and it was sitting on my plate. So now, we had to try it..
It was accompanied by the chef’s take on a s’more… with a homemade raspberry marshmallow. In between the 2 things were raspberries and they were sprinkled with tiny flakes of salt.
You’d think it was horrid… but it was amazing. The almost-overly-richness of the foie gras, then you have a salted raspberry that starts to change your palate from savory to sweet, and then the s’more. The dish was divine… even if I don’t care to ever have foie gras again (poor animals)… this one time was glorious .. I admit it.
I skipped taking pictures of the next few dishes. Corbin is not a fan of octopus so I ate most of his (although I didn’t really like the coconut foam on it as well). Then we had salmon which was good, but neither of us are big salmon fans and it was so-so. However, I do think that they seasoned it with Zatar … if I remember correctly (we’d had some wine by this point!) and that flavor was fantastic. They sell Zatar at Penzey’s and maybe at The Spice House, and I might just have to buy some of it. I’d love to put it on tilapia or something.
The last main dish was Wagyu Beef, marinated in Sake and it was served with this cylinder-like potatoes and truffles. It was also delicious. Wagyu has a lot of marbling and therefore a lot of flavor. The white powder on the left was powdered scallions… that was amazing!
They followed that with Dashi, which is like a fish broth that is smoky. I love love LOVE it (I had it in Tapei, Taiwan) and Corbin…. well he didn’t.
For dessert they served this rhubarb sorbet on buttermilk panna cotta. It was delish.
And my favorite part… the bathroom. Yes, yours truly took the camera to the bathroom to take pictures after my first trip to it. Yep, that’s a big tank next to the toilet and they had little shrimp swimming along in there. So beautiful!
We ended the night with a personal tour of the kitchen where we even thanked the Chef in person (I was a bit awe-struck!). The kitchen was spotless, you wouldn’t believe it. I so wished I could be a part of that! What a dream to work in a kitchen like that with such talented people. Our server told us that Chef cycles with Lance Armstrong in his spare time… nice.
All in all it was a wonderful night. We tried to compare it to Victoria & Albert’s at Disney. I think we both liked V & A’s more… but it was also very different than this experience. So, really each was good for a different reason. But if I had to chose, I’d go to V & A’s again in a heartbeat.
So, Happy 10th Anniversary to my husband! Here’s to many many more happy years to come!