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22nd June
2009
written by spd

 

The dining room at Sepia on N. Jefferson.  (img: Sepia)

The dining room at Sepia on N. Jefferson. (img: Sepia)

 In April, National Geographic Traveler (obsessed) did a feature on 48 hours in Chicago, and fashion designer Maria Pinto plugged Sepia, a stylish restaurant serving new American cuisine in a revamped 1890s print shop.  It’s located in the up-and-coming West Loop, which just happens to be where I am subletting a gorgeous loft for our stay in Chi-town.  Walking distance?  Yesplease.  My boyfriend, David, and I stepped into the dining room a few hours after we stepped off the plane and really enjoyed our meal.  The starters were, perhaps, more successful than the entrees, but all are worth mentioning here.

We began with the duck confit and fig black pepper jam flatbread.  At $6 we figured, why not?  Very tasty with a generous heap of confit… familiar flavor profiles, but lovely nonetheless!  David perused the apps and ordered Sea Scallops with Sunchoke, Serrano Ham and Marcona Salad.  Very harmonious dish, scallops cooked to perfection.  Still, my favorite dish of the night was my starter; Crispy poached Duck Egg with Morels, Asparagus, and Ramps.  This tasted like a gift from the earth!  And I had never seen this technique used to cook an egg… slightly under-poached, then sprinkled with bread crumbs and flash fried.  Mmm…

We were very indecisive when it came the entrees, but we both kept coming back to one: Flat Iron Steak with “Hen of the Woods” and Bone Marrow Beignets.  David and I both go mad for buttery beef marrow bones (if you haven’t had them at Prune in NY, drop everything and go… I don’t know who their purveyor is, but they are enormous and DIVINE) and “hen of the woods” is my favorite mushroom (oyster mushrooms, you come close!).  When it arrived, the steak was surprisingly tender and beautifully cooked… but the mushrooms were sliced very thinly and sort of lost their presence on the plate.  It robbed them of their earthy goodness a bit.  The beignets were slightly greasy and skimpy on the bone marrow.  So our high expectations weren’t quite met on this one.  Our other entree, Halibut with Baby Artichokes, Israeli Couscous, and Salsa Verde was a bit more successful, even if it lacked acid.  Halibut is pretty hard to ruin… well, unless you bread it and fry it to death.  Ahem, McCormick and Schmick.

Desserts were tempting, but we went home and had broiled peaches, served with whipped cream.  :)

All in all, this is a chic, innovative place to treat yourself… and even with our bottle of Torrontes, and ordering enough to feed a small country, the tab with tip came to about $190.

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