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It's Tru. It's Tru. It's Really Really Tru

It's Tru. It's Tru. It's Really Really Tru
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  • Post #31 - December 20th, 2006, 2:45 pm
    Post #31 - December 20th, 2006, 2:45 pm Post #31 - December 20th, 2006, 2:45 pm
    nsxtasy wrote:Remember what they say - "Different strokes for different folks."


    Absolutely.

    I don't have any problems with people expressing the opinions.
    It is the opinions themselves that I find confusing since I've never had a bad meal there.

    I suspect that there is a desire by some to tear down the king, and I hope that's it. Although Tru is not at the same caliber that it once was, I cannot imagine anyone going in, tasting the food, and not enjoying the meal on some level.

    Like I posted above -- there are a lot of bad Ethiopian places out there. There seems to be an assumption here that Small or obsure is good and thus by definition "critically acclaimed"must be bad.
  • Post #32 - December 20th, 2006, 2:50 pm
    Post #32 - December 20th, 2006, 2:50 pm Post #32 - December 20th, 2006, 2:50 pm
    DML wrote:Like I posted above -- there are a lot of bad Ethiopian places out there. There seems to be an assumption here that Small or obsure is good and thus by definition "critically acclaimed"must be bad.


    I'm not sure anyone is making that assumption. They're declaring their priorities. Big difference.

    Also, there aren't a lot of Ethiopian places, period. Good or bad.
  • Post #33 - December 20th, 2006, 2:54 pm
    Post #33 - December 20th, 2006, 2:54 pm Post #33 - December 20th, 2006, 2:54 pm
    eatchicago wrote:
    DML wrote:Like I posted above -- there are a lot of bad Ethiopian places out there. There seems to be an assumption here that Small or obsure is good and thus by definition "critically acclaimed"must be bad.


    I'm not sure anyone is making that assumption. They're declaring their priorities. Big difference. . . .


    I will have to politely disagree with that. If you read the posts above, that is the conclusion that I reach.

    Reasonable minds can differ though, which is what makes the forum entertaining.
  • Post #34 - December 21st, 2006, 11:51 am
    Post #34 - December 21st, 2006, 11:51 am Post #34 - December 21st, 2006, 11:51 am
    DML wrote:Reasonable minds can differ though, which is what makes the forum entertaining.


    yes but if you ask me, comparing 20 small meals to 1 at Tru is apples to oranges.. two completely different things. Sure you could probably pinpoint 20 places that offer unique dining experiences, but with all probability you'd actually have to visit 30 or 40 before you found 20 that are all as memorable, good food, good service, etc as Tru. The other 20 were experimental misses. So in reality the list of meals you consume that equate to the same cost as Tru would probably consist of 10 meals that are equivalent to 1 @ Tru. But if you ask me, that's like saying "I could go to McDonald's 10 times for the same price it costs to eat at TGIFs" ... Even in terms of those restaurants which are nowhere near the caliper we're talking about here, the argument just doesn't equate.

    Also, the argument is somewhat flawed in other ways too... Tru (and other high end spots) are very expensive, nobody is denying that. But realize that most of the time, half the cost of the meal is usually wine. Given that the wine at Tru is comparably priced to other restaurants, I think you should take it out of the equation. If you're really wanting to compare apples to apples, you should take out the cost of wine and simply look at the cost of food--which is $70-100pp. Suddenly that list of "many spots you can eat at for the same price" just shrunk dramatically.

    Now, if you were comparing Tru to Alinea or Charlie Trotter's, there's a more interesting debate. Tru was the most memorable dining experience I've ever had, and I'm constantly amazed at how people pass it up to go to Alinea and Trotter's and other places..
  • Post #35 - December 21st, 2006, 12:19 pm
    Post #35 - December 21st, 2006, 12:19 pm Post #35 - December 21st, 2006, 12:19 pm
    Again, I'm not sure anyone's arguing or drawing comparisons. In fact, I try to avoid drawing direct comparisons between restaurants (even of the same type) as I believe it's generally a fruitless discussion.

    All I was trying to say is that based on stevez's review, I'd rather spend my money elsewhere. Not arguing, just stating a preference. I'll bet Amata would say the same.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #36 - December 21st, 2006, 12:37 pm
    Post #36 - December 21st, 2006, 12:37 pm Post #36 - December 21st, 2006, 12:37 pm
    eatchicago wrote:I'll bet Amata would say the same.


    Yes, I would.

    Guys: eat wherever you like. Enjoy the restaurants you prefer. That's great.

    I wasn't trying to be too serious with the list I threw together up above. But the (small) point was just this: say I was on a very tight budget and could spend only $400 for eating out over the next six months. Would I choose to spend that amount on a single meal at Tru? No. I, personally, would get more enjoyment with my limited dining dollars by exploring different ethnic cuisines at 20 different spots at $20 each. That's my own preference, I don't expect others to have the same view, and I am not claiming that one choice is better than any other.

    amicably yours,
    Amata
  • Post #37 - December 21st, 2006, 2:54 pm
    Post #37 - December 21st, 2006, 2:54 pm Post #37 - December 21st, 2006, 2:54 pm
    dddane wrote:most of the time, half the cost of the meal is usually wine.

    Not necessarily. Some people don't drink alcohol at all (or only have one drink/glass), and some others drink wine whose cost significantly exceeds that of the food.

    dddane wrote:you should take out the cost of wine and simply look at the cost of food--which is $70-100pp.

    Actually, it's usually significantly higher. The three-course prix fixe menu is $95, and the tasting menu is $145.

    dddane wrote:Suddenly that list of "many spots you can eat at for the same price" just shrunk dramatically.

    That's true (and even more so when you're talking about $95-145 before alcohol, tax, and tip). How many places in the Chicago area are in that price range? I don't know offhand, but I would guess it's well under a dozen: Tru, Alinea (which is even higher, obscenely so IMHO), Trotter's, Everest, ...others? Ambria is slightly less, not sure about Avenues or Seasons...

    dddane wrote:Now, if you were comparing Tru to Alinea or Charlie Trotter's, there's a more interesting debate. Tru was the most memorable dining experience I've ever had, and I'm constantly amazed at how people pass it up to go to Alinea and Trotter's and other places..


    Funny, I would say EXACTLY the same thing about Everest. Everest was the most memorable dining experience I've ever had, and I'm constantly amazed at how people pass it up to go to Tru and Alinea and Trotter's and other places..

    eatchicago wrote:All I was trying to say is that based on stevez's review, I'd rather spend my money elsewhere. Not arguing, just stating a preference. I'll bet Amata would say the same.

    Me too! Me too!
  • Post #38 - December 30th, 2006, 6:19 pm
    Post #38 - December 30th, 2006, 6:19 pm Post #38 - December 30th, 2006, 6:19 pm
    The better half took me to Tru on 12/27 to celebrate my 40th birthday. The experience was fascinating, but highly uneven.

    We started with a fantastic glass of champagne. I wish to hell I could remember what it was. It went fabulously with the "cheap" caviar staircase with the Italian osetra caviar, which was wonderful. The sieved egg yolk and egg white were a very nice touch.

    Our first course (we had the price fixe) was hit and miss. Wife had a chestnut tagliolini with a pork-stuffed pheasant. OUTSTANDING! I had diver scallops in some bizarre sauce. Sauce was more bizarre than good, and the scallops were overcooked. UNACCEPTABLE!

    We both had a champagne-poached lobster with matsutake mushroom. OUTSTANDING! The lobster was perfectly cooked. The poaching liquid was reduced to make a sauce. Very nice apple cider undertones. Perfect with the mushrooms. My wife and I prefer red wine, and the sommelier steered us toward a fan-bloody-tastic half-bottle of red burgundy, one of the best wines I've ever had. Yummers.

    We opted for the cheese course, which was nice, but difficult, because the charming cheeseman's accent makes communication very difficult. The cheese cart also doesn't seem to "fit" into the decor, the traffic patterns, etc. Spring for a custom cart that's easier to maneuver. The rosemary-infused sheep's milk cheese was extraordinary.

    Dessert was also a split decision. Wife hit the jackpot with the espresso cake, a black and white, chiaruscuro delight with a mild cinammon gelato. OUTSTANDING! I had something called the "financier." A really dry, tasteless cake/browny with macadamia and dried-out, tasteless mangoes. UNACCEPTABLE! This is one of the worst desserts I've had at any price-point. Both desserts were really not very sweet. Is this the new big thing, not-sweet dessert?

    I DID love the dessert amuse, a cream and grande marnier apperitif that was like an Orange Julius from G-d. My wife thought it tasted like penicillin.

    After the disappointing dessert, the candy offerings were a revelation! Does someone other than Gale oversee the candy production? Too bad we were so stuffed.

    The service was fantastic. It's professional, maybe a little haughty, but I didn't find it "hushed" or "monastic" or intimidating. Our lead server was fantastic, and I am glad we got there early and had a chance to interract with her a little more.

    I am astounded that this place can produce both a 3-course price fixe and a many-course tasting menu. That has got to be hard on the kitchen and the waitstaff. Also, it's hard to convince the typical Tru patron (rich, self-indulgant, self-entitled) that the whole table has to choose one or the other. If Tru listened to me, I would suggest picking one or the other, maybe either a 3- or 5-course price fixe. Don't try and be Alinea.

    I'm philosophical about how uneven the food was, given the cost. As a finance type, I realize that much of the cost at a place like Tru is the labor, both in the kitchen and in the dining room, and the dining room staff was outstanding. My dinner would have been much the worse without the sommelier's recommendation, for example.

    I think it's also true that restaurants like Tru and Alinea are really pushing the outer edge of the envelope for what this generation of humans can produce. The precision needed to manage this level of complexity is unbelievable. Alinea has hiccups, too, from my one experience there, although nothing as disappointing as Tru's scallops and desserts. If I weren't a weeny, I would have sent the scallops and the dessert back. If you are paying this much, the restaurant should make it easier to make amends to the customer.
  • Post #39 - December 31st, 2006, 11:58 am
    Post #39 - December 31st, 2006, 11:58 am Post #39 - December 31st, 2006, 11:58 am
    rdb66 wrote:the scallops were overcooked
    .
    .
    .
    nothing as disappointing as Tru's scallops and desserts. If I weren't a weeny, I would have sent the scallops and the dessert back. If you are paying this much, the restaurant should make it easier to make amends to the customer.

    You should have sent them back. Any top-notch restaurant is trying to make you happy and will gladly recook a dish (or replace it with a different selection) as needed.

    I love scallops. However, I have learned (the hard way) that not every place makes them the same. I suspect you and I like our scallops cooked differently. My big gripe against restaurants is that scallops are usually served so they are cooked only on the outside, and raw in the middle (which means undercooked, IMHO). I am often reluctant to order them for this very reason. When I do order them, I explicitly ask for them to be "cooked through" and restaurants usually (not always, but usually) know how to comply with such a request, cooking them only to this point so they are cooked through but still tender, without overcooking them and making them rubbery. (I've also heard restaurants ask whether they should be "rare, medium rare", etc., but to me these terms do not have a consistent meaning for seafood the way they do for meat.)

    My suggestion is that, if there is a dish (like scallops) where you would like it cooked to a certain point, you specifically request that when ordering.
  • Post #40 - December 31st, 2006, 2:35 pm
    Post #40 - December 31st, 2006, 2:35 pm Post #40 - December 31st, 2006, 2:35 pm
    "My big gripe against restaurants is that scallops are usually served so they are cooked only on the outside, and raw in the middle (which means undercooked, IMHO). "

    I view that as perfectly cooked (technique learned at Four Seasons Chicago). If they are cooked through, they seem rubbery. It may also be too much time spent with sushi. I want the real flavors of the fish.
  • Post #41 - December 31st, 2006, 3:19 pm
    Post #41 - December 31st, 2006, 3:19 pm Post #41 - December 31st, 2006, 3:19 pm
    DML wrote:If they are cooked through, they seem rubbery. It may also be too much time spent with sushi. I want the real flavors of the fish.

    I want the real flavors of the fish, too. And I find that fish that is undercooked - so it is mushy and translucent - is underflavored as well.

    If they are ONLY JUST cooked until they are cooked through, they are not rubbery; they only get rubbery if they are cooked beyond that point.

    Of course, not everyone likes their food cooked exactly the same way. Which supports my previous point - if you want your food cooked a specific way, just ask the restaurant, and they are usually happy to do their best to comply.
  • Post #42 - December 31st, 2006, 3:39 pm
    Post #42 - December 31st, 2006, 3:39 pm Post #42 - December 31st, 2006, 3:39 pm
    nsxtasy wrote:
    DML wrote:If they are cooked through, they seem rubbery. It may also be too much time spent with sushi. I want the real flavors of the fish.

    I want the real flavors of the fish, too. And I find that fish that is undercooked - so it is mushy and translucent - is underflavored as well.

    If they are ONLY JUST cooked until they are cooked through, they are not rubbery; they only get rubbery if they are cooked beyond that point.

    Of course, not everyone likes their food cooked exactly the same way. Which supports my previous point - if you want your food cooked a specific way, just ask the restaurant, and they are usually happy to do their best to comply.


    I actually take the opposite view. Unless I'm eating in a steak house, I want the food the way the chef feels that it should be cooked. Also, whenever possible, I order a degustation.

    I then judge the cook/restaurant by their own standards. The defense of "you didn't order it the way the cook suggests" is taken out of play.
  • Post #43 - December 31st, 2006, 4:17 pm
    Post #43 - December 31st, 2006, 4:17 pm Post #43 - December 31st, 2006, 4:17 pm
    DML wrote:I actually take the opposite view. Unless I'm eating in a steak house, I want the food the way the chef feels that it should be cooked.

    Even if there is a certain dish, that YOU like prepared slightly differently from the way it's often served?

    Even though you're at a restaurant, where you are being SERVED, where the restaurant is (usually) willing to cater to your specific desires?

    And if that is your philosophy, why are steakhouses exempt?

    Gee, with your philosophy, people with allergies or restricted diets shouldn't be asking for specific ingredients to be omitted, either.

    DML wrote:Also, whenever possible, I order a degustation.

    Separate issue. Order whatever you want.

    DML wrote:I then judge the cook/restaurant by their own standards. The defense of "you didn't order it the way the cook suggests" is taken out of play.

    Wow! You really seem to have twisted what I posted into something far different from what I said, to the extent that you're fabricating quotes so you can argue against something I never said. :roll: "Defense"? Do you think we're in court? I was merely providing a suggestion so that each of us can get the food cooked the way we like it - not "accusing" (to use your jurisprudence terminology and its acrimonious connotation) anyone of anything. Some of us are simply trying to help each other enjoy our restaurant experiences with our exchanges here on this board, rather than launching such petty and hostile recriminations...
  • Post #44 - December 31st, 2006, 4:32 pm
    Post #44 - December 31st, 2006, 4:32 pm Post #44 - December 31st, 2006, 4:32 pm
    Consider this the first and last moderator whistle.

    Let's tone down the rhetoric here, please. No one is being petty, hostile or accusatory. We're sharing ideas, opinions, and points of view.

    Thanks,
    Michael
    for the moderators
  • Post #45 - December 31st, 2006, 6:35 pm
    Post #45 - December 31st, 2006, 6:35 pm Post #45 - December 31st, 2006, 6:35 pm
    eatchicago wrote:Consider this the first and last moderator whistle.

    Let's tone down the rhetoric here, please. No one is being petty, hostile or accusatory. We're sharing ideas, opinions, and points of view.

    Thanks,
    Michael
    for the moderators


    Absolutely.
    I was surprised by the hostility of the response.

    The posts are about how we enjoy eating out, and nothing more.

    My preference is to have the meal prepared as the chef wishes to prepare it so that I can see if I appreciate the chef's style, approach, and talent. Others prepare to have a stronger say in the way the meal is prepared.

    That's it, and nothing more.

    Wishing everybody a Happy New Year, no matter what they prefer to see and do when they enter a restaurant.
  • Post #46 - December 31st, 2006, 8:14 pm
    Post #46 - December 31st, 2006, 8:14 pm Post #46 - December 31st, 2006, 8:14 pm
    Interesting discussion.

    I think that at a certain level of dining (and Tru is certainly at the level I'm talking about), you really do need to give yourself over to the chef and let some of you personal preferences take a back seat, if only for the night. For example, let's say that you like your steak well done (God forbid, but this is hypothetical). If you were to go to Alinea (or Tru for that matter) and there were a beef course, would you really want to order it well done? Certainly this is an extreme example, but part of the fun (and the attraction) of fine dining is to put yourself in the hands of an extraordinarily talented kitchen.

    And for the record, I also prefer my scallops on the undercooked side. In fact, the are few things I enjoy more than sashimi of absolutely pristine scallops. Even better than the cooked version in some cases.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #47 - January 1st, 2007, 12:41 am
    Post #47 - January 1st, 2007, 12:41 am Post #47 - January 1st, 2007, 12:41 am
    So, what's the over/under on how long Tru will be around? I'd think that Chef Tramonto and Chef Gand's time commitment to the folks at Starwood is as considerable as the monetary commitment is to them, in that I hear tell that Starwood is considering the Wheeling ventures as a prototype for other properties.

    Keep in mind that Rich Melman isn't shy about closing restos in the LEYE chain that have peaked - remember Avanzare? Tucci Milan? The Eccentric? And will he close it, or just rework the concept, a la Vong's downscaling to VTK?
  • Post #48 - January 1st, 2007, 10:11 am
    Post #48 - January 1st, 2007, 10:11 am Post #48 - January 1st, 2007, 10:11 am
    jesteinf wrote:I think that at a certain level of dining (and Tru is certainly at the level I'm talking about), you really do need to give yourself over to the chef and let some of you personal preferences take a back seat, if only for the night. For example, let's say that you like your steak well done (God forbid, but this is hypothetical). If you were to go to Alinea (or Tru for that matter) and there were a beef course, would you really want to order it well done? Certainly this is an extreme example, but part of the fun (and the attraction) of fine dining is to put yourself in the hands of an extraordinarily talented kitchen.

    To a certain extent I agree, and to a certain extent (obviously), I disagree. With the exception of scallops (which, as previously noted, I rarely order precisely because they are so often undercooked to my taste), I almost never tell a chef how to cook, and I enjoy seeing how the chef likes to make a dish. However, if there is something that someone feels strongly about - for example, if there is a specific type of food that someone prefers prepared a certain way, or if someone has a food allergy or is vegetarian or has other dietary or religious restrictions - I think it's okay to let the chef know of any special requests. And again, most high-end restaurants are happy to comply with such requests. Restaurants are a service business, and you are the customer, (as in "the customer is always right").

    At the same time, I understand that this can change the dining experience and what the chef is trying to achieve (and I think this is the point that some others in this discussion have been making). If my dining companion is a vegetarian and asks for a vegetarian version of the tasting menu, I would expect the restaurant to be able to provide that, but I would never consider my companion's dishes to represent the full breadth of the restaurant's experience and capabilities.

    What seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle of this discussion is my other point, that if you are not happy with the way a dish was prepared or served, you should communicate that to the restaurant, and give them a chance to make it right. And again, most restaurants will appreciate the feedback.

    sundevilpeg wrote:So, what's the over/under on how long Tru will be around? I'd think that Chef Tramonto and Chef Gand's time commitment to the folks at Starwood is as considerable as the monetary commitment is to them, in that I hear tell that Starwood is considering the Wheeling ventures as a prototype for other properties.

    Keep in mind that Rich Melman isn't shy about closing restos in the LEYE chain that have peaked - remember Avanzare? Tucci Milan? The Eccentric? And will he close it, or just rework the concept, a la Vong's downscaling to VTK?

    I'm not sure what the point of the question is. It seems to imply that Tru has "peaked" and that volume or quality are declining, but I have not seen or heard anything to indicate that those implications are true. AFAIK, right now, Tru is highly regarded and seems to be doing a very good business, and is worthy of the acclaim it has received.

    It's also worth noting that restaurants can close for all kinds of reasons, not just less-than-expected volume. Sometimes the reasons are totally extraneous (e.g. the falloff in the hospitality industry with the downturn in travel following the 9/11 attacks), sometimes for other reasons (the chef moves on because he/she wants to do something new, the building is sold, etc).

    Regardless of what happens to Tru, in the near future or many years from now, I think it's safe to say that there will always be wonderful dining experiences to be had in Chicago!
  • Post #49 - January 1st, 2007, 1:21 pm
    Post #49 - January 1st, 2007, 1:21 pm Post #49 - January 1st, 2007, 1:21 pm
    Obviously food allergies are an exception, which is why most high-end places will ask the table if there are any allergies that the kitchen should know about. No one should be risking there life for a nice dinner.

    Also, it is fairly well known at this point that Rick and Gale are spending little to no time in the kitchen these days due to other projects. I would say the quality has slipped just a bit, whether or not as a result of this situation. Will it lead to the demise of the restaurant? Who knows. It's still damn hard to get a table on a Friday or Saturday night.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #50 - January 1st, 2007, 1:33 pm
    Post #50 - January 1st, 2007, 1:33 pm Post #50 - January 1st, 2007, 1:33 pm
    Keep in mind that Rich Melman isn't shy about closing restos in the LEYE chain that have peaked - remember Avanzare? Tucci Milan?


    I remember eating at both after they peaked, but before they closed....
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  • Post #51 - January 1st, 2007, 7:26 pm
    Post #51 - January 1st, 2007, 7:26 pm Post #51 - January 1st, 2007, 7:26 pm
    Keep in mind that Rich Melman isn't shy about closing restos in the LEYE chain that have peaked - remember Avanzare? Tucci Milan?


    I remember eating at both after they peaked, but before they closed....


    And, as I said, Melman isn't shy about shutting places down at just past peak, as he did with the above. He is very quick on flipping to new concepts, and not letting his venues die a long, slow death.

    Based on prior evidence, and given that both marquee chefs are now otherwise engaged with an unaffiliated corporation, I will be very surprised if Tru is still around on 1/1/08. Just a hunch.
  • Post #52 - January 5th, 2007, 1:25 pm
    Post #52 - January 5th, 2007, 1:25 pm Post #52 - January 5th, 2007, 1:25 pm
    Great discussion of scallop cooking while I was out of town! Sorry I missed it.

    To clarify on 2 points:

    1) My personal preference on cooking scallops is to have them cooked through, just barely, but still tender and juicy.

    2) The scallops I had at Tru were beyond the state described in 1) -- they were too firm and dry.

    Having said all this, I'm reasonably open to a chef's preferences and take on things. I just don't think scallops should be dry and chewy, and chocolate macadamia nut mango cake should be dry and not sweet. Those seem more like mistakes than interpretations.
  • Post #53 - June 9th, 2007, 9:26 am
    Post #53 - June 9th, 2007, 9:26 am Post #53 - June 9th, 2007, 9:26 am
    Dinner at Tru last night for my wife's birthday. The short version of this review: Tru is good, but it's not good enough.

    We weren't in the mood for a degustation/"collection", so we did three-course prix fixe for $95 each.

    She had scallops to start, with a panoply of flavors... puffed rice, asparagus emulsion, etc. Gorgeous to look at, and quite good, but I found the flavors a bit overwhelmed with cream, which didn't differentiate itself from the texture of the scallop. I had Hawaiian prawns with bourbon and vanilla sauce. The prawns were AWESOME--best I've ever had. Sweet, tender, juicy, and beautiful. But the sauce, while tasty, was too thin; it wouldn't stick to the meat well enough to really get the flavors together.

    We both had butter-poached lobster with orange and almond for an entree. Again, very good meat, but heavy-handed with the cream stuff. I have to admit that my tastes tend towards fewer ingredients and cleaner preparations, but I kept thinking that the food was too much show and not enough go.

    Started with a glass of Geoffroy, dined with a bottle of HdV 2003 Chardonnay. We had cheeses for dessert with a glass of Kracher TBA. There were two amuses and a complimentary thai-inspired salted cod dish, all tasty. Grand total, out the door = $503. Look, Tru is good, but it's not as good as several of the "second tier" places in the city, including Blackbird, Kevin, and (suddenly, for us) Spring. And it's considerably more expensive. This place was my first love in the world of fine dining, and I'm sad to say I don't think we'll be back.
  • Post #54 - June 26th, 2007, 8:55 am
    Post #54 - June 26th, 2007, 8:55 am Post #54 - June 26th, 2007, 8:55 am
    The Chicago Tribune's food blog, "The Stew", had an interesting piece recently about the changes at Tru.

    The key quote:

    "Will Tramonto feel the need to spend more time at Tru during this transition [to a new chef de cuisine]? `I am still going to be at Tru every other week,' he says. `That has never really changed.'"

    $200 per person and the chef drops by every two weeks?
  • Post #55 - June 26th, 2007, 9:25 am
    Post #55 - June 26th, 2007, 9:25 am Post #55 - June 26th, 2007, 9:25 am
    DML wrote:$200 per person and the chef drops by every two weeks?


    There are better and more expensive restaurants where the "name" chef is there even less.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #56 - June 26th, 2007, 9:26 am
    Post #56 - June 26th, 2007, 9:26 am Post #56 - June 26th, 2007, 9:26 am
    I read that as one week out of every two, not one day out of every two weeks.

    In other words, he spends the first and third weeks of the month at Tru, and the second and fourth at those Wheeling locations, or consulting, or something.

    I'd imagine Thomas Keller is splitting his time between the French Laundry, Per Se, and his other smaller restaurants in a similar fashion...
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #57 - June 26th, 2007, 9:32 am
    Post #57 - June 26th, 2007, 9:32 am Post #57 - June 26th, 2007, 9:32 am
    jesteinf wrote:
    DML wrote:$200 per person and the chef drops by every two weeks?


    There are better and more expensive restaurants where the "name" chef is there even less.


    Probably. But unless the chef is Ducasse [possibly a few others who have a proven record of multi-tasking], I would avoid those places also.
  • Post #58 - June 26th, 2007, 11:37 am
    Post #58 - June 26th, 2007, 11:37 am Post #58 - June 26th, 2007, 11:37 am
    Just wanted to add that my girlfriend took me out for dessert at Tru on Friday. In case it's changed for those who haven't gone recently (and I know that dessert's been discussed previously on these boards, as well as a pretty good description on the Chicago Reader website), here's what happened:

    Service was great from the get-go: they knew us when we walked in; no wait to get into the dining room. We had one head server, one, i'd say, assistant server, and, at any moment, at least 3-4 other people who would either give us water or food at any time. I thought our server was very nice although a bit standoffish for my tastes. My girlfriend felt she was not standoffish enough for her tastes. Everything course-wise was appropriately timed. No one ever hovered.

    So, onto the wine. First, we get the list, and, it gotta say, we felt pressured to get something right way. Not a bottle, but at least a glass (which we were going to do anyway). But the assistant server comes by, welcomes us, and right way asks what sort of wine we might, perhaps something by the glass like a port or sherry, etc. And he sorta flipped by stuff quickly and stood there while we looked. Eventually, he got the hint that we needed some more time with the list and left. Here's the deal with Tru's wine list: it's a large book--i'd say 50-60 pages long--impressive and I'm sure helpful if you're getting a bottle. But the dessert-friendly wines-by-the-glass offerings, other than port/sherry/maderia, were tremendously disappointing. There wasn't a single "dessert" wine listed under the wines-by-the-glass--no late-harvest rieslings or muscats or Sauternes listed. My girlfriend wanted something sweet, perhaps sparkling, and there were 3 champagnes available, only one was reasonably priced (at $18), which is what she got--René Geoffroy Expression Brut NV. It wasn't great...it was grapefruit-y and almost bitter tasting--like if you're zesting a citrus and you get too much of the pith with the zest. I had a glass of port--20 year Rocha...which was very nice...smoky, chocolately, a little coffee. I understand that most people won't be ordering wine with dessert--either because they're already "wined out" from the rest of the meal or because they prefer other things to wine for dessert, but many other restaurants of that caliber I've been to have had a superior wines-by-the-glass listing.

    So we got the menus and we had two options: order individual desserts or order the "tasting." So we go for the tasting. As I go though what we got, keep in mind, the tasting is $25 per person. First, we get what I believe were green apple juice and vodka shooters with a light meringue and crispy butter/sugar topping. Tasty. Then dessert #1: we both got different, full-sized desserts: a layered cake of vanilla mousse and lemon curd along with a lavendar ice cream and a little citrus salad and a sticky toffee bread pudding with oatmeal ice cream and a banana chip thing. Both were quite good. Next, we got full-sized chocolate desserts: a milk chocolate "whoopie pie" - sorta a sandwich of meringue and cake with a sour-cream and milk chocolate ganache, with a smear of semi-sweet chocolate pudding and some cubes of a white-chocolate substance that felt like butter but tasted like white chocolate - and a bittersweet chocolate "box" - it was hard chocolate - that, when broken, contained a dark chocolate mousse and a lime gelee. Alongside was a smear of dark chocolate ganache and some chocolate-coated coffee nibs. I liked the box better than the whoopie pie: the lime gelee i didn't think would work, but it really cut through the richness of the mousse and added a nice sweetness as well.

    At this point, both of us are getting sugar fatigue. We went out for a great Cuban meal beforehand, so we had something coating our stomach, but it was getting tough to finish some stuff.

    Next--small root beer floats (which is a signature thing for them) with house-made root beer and a vanilla-malt ice cream. very good. After that, house made orange madelines in a little covered pot that kept them warm. then came the cart with about 10 different "mignardises" - three kinds of lollipops (root beer, chocolate-covered caramel, and violet), orange-chocolate opera cake, truffles, strawberry jelly gummies, and some other stuff. The cart is quite a spectacle. They also had a cheese cart (which we didn't get because we didn't have dinner there) which looked incredibly impressive. Finally, they came over with a plate of house-made chocolates (chocolate-ginger, white-chocolate curry, something else). And, when we left, we got a little lemon poundcake wrapped up.

    Assessment: The bill came to $111 with tax and tip. When you consider that the "meal" portion is only $25, that's a pretty cool deal. So the value is good. But let me make a few comparisons:

    1. The chocolate bar at the Peninsula Hotel is about the same price for everything (including drinks). Outside of service, which is where Tru has it beat, it's a comparable experience. It's a slight knock on Tru, I think, for their dessert service--the supposed jewel of their dining experience, what with Gale Gand's reputation--to be the same thing you get in the Peninsula. Both are really great, but I was really hoping Tru to be a transformative experience, which it was not.

    2. Charlie Trotter's, on both occasions I've been, had better desserts. Tru's service was more inventive (4-5 courses, with little whimsical things like the root-beer floats and the candies), but at Trotter's, the first time, with my parents in 2001, we got every dessert in the house (8 full-sized desserts) that we just rotated among us. Of the 8, two were average and 6 were incredible, besting everything at Tru (except, perhaps, the chocolate box). The second time I went in 2005, i was individually served a trio of desserts, all full-size, and all of which complimented each other. I don't want to make this out to be a Tru v. Trotter's thing--there are already enough of those--but again, I'll refer back to my first point: Tru's "thing" is supposed to be dessert. And while I wouldn't classify the desserts as ordinary by any means, they just weren't mind-blowing, which I was I was really expecting.

    Verdict: Glad I went. I wouldn't rush back again, but if someone was really interested, I'd go. But I'd probably pick the Peninsula's chocolate bar...or just get 4-5 desserts at Hot Chocolate...before I'd pick Tru again.

    So that's the deal.
  • Post #59 - September 5th, 2017, 9:15 pm
    Post #59 - September 5th, 2017, 9:15 pm Post #59 - September 5th, 2017, 9:15 pm
    2-Michelin-starred Tru to close doors, re-concept
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/ct ... story.html
    "Sandwiches are wonderful. You don't need a spoon or a plate!"
    Paul Lynde

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