Come prepared for new and amazing flavor pairings.
Right before I left for Chicago, I discovered this email in my inbox:
“It’s BYOB, and they recommend champagne. Any favorites or preferences?”
Now that’s my kind of email.
My friend was talking about what to bring for our reservation at El Ideas, Chefs Phillip Foss’ and Andrew Brochu’s new improvisational restaurant in the heart of Chicago. (We ultimately decided to go with some Krug, in case you were wondering).
Have you ever wondered what happens when you put together some incredible chefs, a limited number of patrons and a creative 9-course menu that changes every night? After eating at El Ideas, I can tell you: Pure magic.
Each course at El Ideas was a beautiful surprise. And I’m not talking about surprise about how good the food was–with Foss and Brochu at the helm, that was a given. But it was hard to know what you were going to get even after viewing the menu. Items were listed like:
The lack of description left us anticipating just how these flavors should and would come together. We puzzled, we wondered, we salivated. It was a lot of fun to speculate about it all. But even better to finally taste.
From beginning to end of the two+-hour experience, I found myself drooling with anticipation for the next course. (Luckily, I had plenty of Krug on hand to help calm me as I waited for each course). We were also free to wander into the kitchen to watch Foss and Brochu at work, as all guests are, and were occasionally asked to bring an extra plate to one of our lucky seating companions.
Seatings at El Ideas are limited and have a fixed price. But such wonderful ventures are hard to come by and worth the wait (and every penny).
2419 W 14th St
Chicago, IL 60608
Photo courtesy of Kayt Sukel.