With its one Michelin Star earned since 2011, Sepia has been feeding Chicago diners a seasonal menu working with producers who use sustainable practices. This West loop restaurant is a true gem for sure and we were glad we could get a table on a crowded Saturday. With a near perfect service, although overwhelmed as the evening went and the dining room filled out, we had a great time and ate delicious food as you will see below.
I started the meal with their single barrel old fashioned, made with Henry McKenna 10 year whisky, angostura bitters, Demerara sugar and an ice cube that had saffron in it.
They then brought some multi-grain bread that has a nicely crunchy outside. I admit that the bread was so good it did not last long...
The amuse bouche was a succulent date and sorgum ball topped with a lemon puree:
As an appetizer, I decided to try their beef tartare, served with celery root, grapes, green peppercorn hollandaise sauce and a toasted brioche. The tartare, perfectly cut with a knife (I mention it because you can still find places that serve ground meat!), was well seasoned and the mustard seeds gave a nice texture to it. Simply delicious.
We also shared the tempura asparagus that was topped with gochujang and pumpkin seeds. This was amazing: crispy and not greasy, it was not spicy at all.
For her entree, Jodi had the masa cavatelli (pasta), topped with morels, English peas, in a sauce that had mint and black garlic. This was superb and very comforting. The pasta was perfectly made and cooked, soft and not al dente.
On my side, I opted for the duck breast that came with sauerkraut, baby beets and a beer mustard. I loved it: the duck was well cooked, slightly rare (or pink in the center), with its delightfully fatty skin that I just wished was crispy. Still, I recommend it.
Of course we could not go without dessert and decided to order two. The first one was the lemon donuts accompanied with a grapefruit curd and a lemon ice cream. The only disappointment in that dessert was the fact that there were not that many donuts. Otherwise, it was fantastic! The donuts came hot, smothered in sugar, perfect alone or with the grapefruit curd that gave a nice acidity to the dish.
The second dessert that the pear upside down cake, served with creme fraîche and Concord grape sorbet. That was definitely on top of our list because I love pear and unfortunately, it is not often that I see desserts with this magnificent fruit. And I did not regret it: this was a nice take on the classic pineapple upside down, the pear being perfectly cooked, soft and packed in flavor, covering a pear infused cake that was buttery. Divine! I admit that I focused on the cake and did not really care about the sorbet that was good but not a favorite of mine.
At the end, with the bill, they offered us some cookies, homemade and remembered that Jodi is vegetarian. So, no marshmallow for her, rather a blackberry pate de fruit, and we both got a tart chocolate macaron.
This was a great meal and it is not surprising that Sepia got a coveted Michelin star: great place, great service and great food. What more to ask?
Enjoy (I did)!
If you like this post, the photos or the blog, please feel free to share it or post a comment. Merci!
Sepia - 123 North Jefferson Street, IL 60661