Last week, I promised a review of the dinner at Charlie Trotter’s G and I had while in Chicago. Alright, so here’s the scoop on our ridiculously priced dinner. There are no pictures (sorries). Charlie’s was not the sort of place one took pictures of the food in … though, we did see one young asian couple doing just that. The only picture I snapped was of the entrance as we left after gorging ourselves.
- Amuse Gueule (Hebrart “Premier Cru” Brut NV)
- Japanese Hamachi with Roasted Bell Pepper, Kalamata Olive Sorbet, Spanish Paprika & Basil Oil (Schloss Gobelsburg “Gobelsburger” Gruner Veltliner, Langenlois 2004)
- Alaskan King Salmon with Bok Choy, Sweet & Sour Duck Gizzards & Yellow Curry Sauce (J. J. Prum “Wehlener Sonnenuhr” Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2004)
- Whole Roasted Squab with Marcona Almonds, Kinome Seeds, Sweet Onions & Morel Mushrooms (Akarua “The Gullies” Pinot Noir, Bannockburn 2003)
- Elk Loin with Quinoa, Black Cardamom Mole & Ash Baked Eggplant, Cantaloupe with Preserved Melon Rind & Lavender Cured Pork Belly (Domus Aurea Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo 2002)
- Michigan Raspberries with Ricotta & Fennel, and a Dark Chocolate Cake (served with two dessert wines: Mount Horrocks “Cordon Cut” Riesling, Clare Valley 2004 and Niepoort 10 Year Tawny Port)
What I found absolutely incredible about Charlie’s was how every one of the staff knew (down to the nth detail) their role in making our evening enjoyable. I do a fair amount of work in quality management and from a customer’s point of view, this group has it down to a fine art. Examining this teamwork would be a great case study in topnotch quality for sure.
They essentially have more staff than guests so there was always someone visiting us, bringing us something, taking around something, laying down new cultery, pouring more wine. Afterwards, you get a tour of Charlie’s TV studio (where he films his show), the wine cellar and – of course – back into the kitchen itself. It was great.
So, the food. What can we say about the food? Well, as you can imagine, it was outstanding. In particular, the lavender cured pork belly (OMG!) and the salmon with sour duck gizzards stand out for me. Also, the kalamata olive sorbet was unforgettable simply for its inventiveness and the way it was presented. If you didn’t know it was sobert, you could have sworn it was an actual, whole, real olive sitting on the plate. That olive was food ‘art’ in every sense of the word.
As to the wines, the Austrian Gruner Veltliner was an oops, I’d say. The Maipo Cabernet and JJ Prum Reisling standouts on the evening.
Would I go again? …. No.
Why? … value for money. I don’t care how ‘good’ you are, US$600 for a meal for two is wrong.