Intro — Chicago (6/2015)

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Intro in Chicago took over the space in the Lincoln Park neighborhood vacated when L2O closed. The concept is that chefs would rotate through periodically. Several people on my last visit to Chicago recommended that I give it a try. I targeted an early summer trip to Chicago to dine there. They use a ticket system that a few other Chicago restaurants employ. Reservations are pre-paid upon booking. The system also does not accommodate odd-numbered reservations (yet), but they will accept them via email, and you pay at the restaurant. In my case, I found some Chicago locals who wanted to try Intro as well. So we made arrangements to dine together (the group grew to 9 people), and I emailed the restaurant to join their dining reservation.

When you pre-pay the reservation, it covers the set tasting menu and tax and a service charge. You can also include the wine pairings as part of the pre-paid amount. You can order wine pairings, glasses or bottles of wine, and supplemental course offerings when at the restaurant, and pay for those at the end of the meal. They will accommodate dietary restrictions and allergies.

For the full write-up, click here.

For the reservation we had, we would be dining from the tasting menu prepared by Erik Anderson, who was their second chef in residence since the restaurant opened.

42 grams 5th visit — Chicago (June/2015)

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I promised that I would be back for the summer menu, so I planned a trip for mid-June.  When I was setting up my reservation, I noticed that the reservations for both seatings were going to be at the counter.  So, I took the opportunity to book the late seating, which I never get to do otherwise, since it usually was designated for the dining table.  And for the wine, I hadn’t had a Riesling in a while, so I brought a bottle of a medium-priced one.

The menu had some new items, as well as some items from the spring menu.  In comparing menus, I noticed that some of the courses that appeared to be the same did have a change in the sourcing of the main ingredient or slight changes in the supporting components.

Every station or reservation setting had a bucket available to keep wine chilled if needed.

The first quick light bite was raw scallop with Thai flavors.  With the three pieces of scallop, there was some coconut milk, basil seeds and kefir lime.  This was garnished with compressed cucumber and grilled golden kiwi.  The sweetness helped pick up the sweetness in the scallop.

For the full write-up, click here.

Kitchen Table 8th Visit — London (6/2015)

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As much as I try to visit Kitchen Table, it would be about 5 months since my last visit.  My stop in London on this overseas trip was a warm up to some serious dining in Copenhagen for the balance of the week.  It was early summer, so I was hoping for at least a taste of summer on the menu, or at least spring.

We started off the meal in a different way this time with Parker House rolls made with pork fat and served with rendered beef fat and honey from champagne grape flowers.  Usually, we have started off with some sort of raw shellfish like oyster or clams.

The next course was the signature crispy chicken skin with rosemary mascarpone and bacon jam, which is always tasty with lots of texture.

For the full write-up, click here.

Restaurant Story 2nd Visit — London (6/2015)

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I was looking forward to a return visit to Restaurant Story.  I wanted to see what dishes they would come up with to reflect a different season (my prior visit was in the fall).  Based on my experience last time, I enlisted help with making the solo reservation.  I noticed that they changed their message to diners from tables needed to be yielded after 2.5 hours to dinners can take up to 3.5 hours.  This was a very different approach, as they used to try and turn the tables once turning the evening; now, the table is basically yours for the evening.  Even with that change, they still offered a short menu and a long menu.

The menu looked very similar to the menu I had in November.  The wines were mostly different, though.

Before I had informed them of my menu choice, they started bringing out snacks, starting with cold ones and moving to warm bites.  The first two were the same as before:  Crispy cod skin, smoked cod roe, gin botanicals and carrot tops; and squid ink biscuit with a mousse of smoked eel.

For the full write-up, click here.

Amass 2nd Visit — Copenhagen (6/2015)

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It had been almost exactly one year since my first visit to Amass.  With my visit again to Copenhagen, I decided to try it again and see if anything was different, now that they had more than a year being in business.  Since I had been there before, I knew the bus route details to get to the restaurant, or so I thought.  When I arrived at the bus stop to make my connection, I saw the next bus departure time as 44 minutes.  When I looked at the posted schedule, I saw that the bus only runs hourly, something I did not remember.  If I waited for the next bus, I would be late.  Fortunately, I remembered that during the day, the harbor ferry bus has a stop near the restaurant (terminates its run there), and the stop was nearby.  Despite the posted schedule, the ferry came and brought me to the restaurant at just the right time.

The menu line-up was different than a year ago.  The option of ordering the extended menu was the same, so I went with that option again.

They don’t have a wine-by-the-glass list.  I told my server my wine preferences, and he brought a glass of a Chardonnay from Jura in France, which worked fine with my meal.

For the full write-up, click here.

Relae 2nd Visit — Copenhagen (6/2015)

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My first visit to Relӕ was almost 3 ½ years ago.  I decided I wanted to go back, but I had a booking problem when the predicted dates for the reservation availability came.  So, I had given up trying, but then looked again after several days.  While no reservations were available for dinner on the planned day, they were serving lunch on that Saturday.  I decided that would be fine, since I knew it would not be long meal, and I would have enough time to recover before dinner.  And, the restaurant is an easy and quick bus ride from Central Copenhagen. It currently is awarded one Michelin star.

The menu is still organized around either omnivore or herbivore groups.  However, you can order a longer menu (7 courses instead of 4) which crosses both groups of menu choices, which is what I chose.

I was again given a seat at the counter that overlooks the kitchen area.  However, they recently remodeled and removed one of the counter sections (the one in front, where I sat before).  When you walk into the restaurant and look right, you are almost in the kitchen area.  You still have all your utensils in a drawer at your seating station.

I asked for a wine recommendation, and my server suggested the 2012 Domaine de La Tournelle Fleur de Savagnin, Evelyne et Pascal Clairet from Jura, France.

For the full write-up, click here.

Formel B — Copenhagen (6/2015)

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This restaurant caught my attention when I had read something about its new, more casual sister restaurant, UFormel, opening earlier in the year.  Formel B is a one-star Michelin restaurant, maintaining its star even after a change in format.  I also selected it because I was looking for a place that was not totally tasting-menu oriented, so I could bring some friends along who aren’t as much into that kind of experience.  The restaurant has an on-line reservation system, and it was pretty easy to secure a reservation for my group.  The restaurant is located on a major street called Vesterbrogade, which runs west from Tivoli Gardens and the Central Station area.  It is pretty close to the Copenhagen Zoo.

The restaurant has two levels.  The first photo shows what you see when you walk in from the street.  We were led downstairs, where we were seated by a window that looked up towards street level.

For the full write-up, click here.