Tuesday, July 31, 2012

tru (2) - chicago, il

676 north st. clair street
chicago, il 60611

following our dinner at chris nugent's goosefoot in lincoln square, carrie and i caught a cab back to the city proper and took a short power nap prior to our evening's grand finale. while our dinner at goosefoot was a plan made months in advance, the idea for our nightcap was conceived just a few days before our trip. knowing that our early goosefoot reservation would have us back on the streets by 8pm, we figured that we would need a second venue to enjoy the rest of our one night in the city. the original plan was to go to the drawing room for cocktails, but then i remembered the $50 we had accrued on our lettuce entertain you frequent diner card after our blowout meal at l2o back in june. with little interest in any of the lettuce entertain you restaurants aside from l2o, everest, and tru and with no plans to revisit any of them for dinner in the foreseeable future, the card had slipped to the back of my mind. however, now that a late night option was needed, an idea was formulated. after a quick call to the restaurant, a 10pm reservation for two was booked at tru for their three course dessert tasting menu.
after making the short walk from our hotel, we checked in with the hostess (same as last time) and were shown to our table in main dining room which at this point was about one-third full. we were then given the choice of black or white napkins and upon declining wine in favor of coffee our choice of still water was synchronously poured by a pair of servers. al a carte dessert menus were then presented but promptly handed back as we confirmed our desire for the full dessert tasting. service for the evening was handled by a team of three of four, with a man named carlos taking lead. carlos was our primary server during our dinner at tru in april of 2011, and for both meals he was exceptionally personable and engaging without ever overstepping.
for our first taste, we have gelatins of anjou pear with fennel and granny smith apple with chile flake served whimsically on a mock clothesline over grass. although not nearly as soft or sticky, these reminded me of a much more interesting fruit roll up.
next up was a sweet and sour meyer lemon sorbet palette refresher.
like our first visit to tru, a basket of honey madelines was brought to the table to nibble on throughout the dessert courses. these arrived hot and went very quickly.
for our first of the three actual dessert courses we received rhubarb with strawberry gelee, goat yogurt, and lemon balm. this was a nice course with the tartness of the rhubarb mixed with the cool yogurt being the main gist of the dish.
arriving next was a honeycrisp apple beignet with vanilla ice cream. basically we have a light and crisp doughnut filled with fresh apple and served with a wonderful slightly gritty vanilla bean ice cream. this was easily my favorite of the three desserts however i did find eating the ice cream in conjunction with the beignet rather difficult due to the service pieced used.
finally we have chef martin's contemporary take on s'mores. with each of the necessary ingredients present in multiple forms, this was very interesting texturally and certainly pleasing in taste.
following the s'mores was a miniature root beer float with some serious notes of ginger present.
mignardises fore the evening were coconut macaroons, raspberry truffles, caneles, marshmallows, black currant gelees, and a lemon chocolate offering. the raspberry truffles and black currant gelees were my favorites while the canale was a major let down as the shell was far too soft and lacked the crackle a good canale is known for.
just as our first experience at tru, our tasting ended with the restaurant's signature exploding truffles. basically these are a razor thin chocolate shell filled with a liquid of some sort (this time the flavor was peanut butter) and topped with a bit of gold fleck. last time around, carrie managed to burst her truffle all over the table and as such the treats were approached with a great deal of caution. i am happy to report that there were no casualties this time with both truffles safely making it to our mouths before the big burst.
as a parting gift, we received a small cake along with more macaroons, gelees, and truffles. the cakes were great first thing the next morning while the mignardises were saved and enjoyed on our car ride back to st. louis.

this visit to tru was certainly enjoyable, but i am just not sure the food was worth $40 per person. all the desserts were well executed and quite tasty, but were no where near the level of what we had at goosefoot hours prior in terms of creativity or overall flavor. honestly, the peanut gooey butter cake i had at big jones earlier in the day was more satisfying in all ways than anything tru served me. when it comes to service and ambiance however, tru certainly ranks amongst chicago's finest, and i went into the tasting know that part of the expense is simply just getting to sit in that magnificent room. all things considered i am glad to have revisited tru, but unlike alinea and l2o i highly doubt i will feel compelled to make another return.

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