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Innovative New Gastronomy – Chicago’s ING Dinner

08/07/2013

or the Restaurant ING in Chicago.

Phil Vettel of the Chicago Tribune says ‘Homaro Cantu is a chef defined and limited by his excesses. At Moto, Cantu’s science-based culinary sleight-of-hand never fails to dazzle even the most jaded diner’

Moto is the fancier restaurant so I, of course, was at Chef Cantu’s more casual (lower priced!) ING. This kind of molecular gastronomy is food as theater. The presentation and clever interpretations are half (two thirds?) of the enjoyment.

Grapefruit, Elderflower and Ginger & the color matched my dining companions outfit!

Grapefruit juice, Elderflower liquor and ginger – very refreshing and the color matched my dining companions outfit! How could a girl ask for more?

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Trevor was the server, maître’d and charming master of ceremonies for the evening. With hipster vest and cool dude-hairdo he kept up the pace as we had him explain every element of each of the eight crazy & clever courses.  He even had the ‘food miles’  – that’s how far away the ingredient travelled to the plate which is very important in new locovore-mania.   The micro-cilantro was organic with 152 feet of food miles – from the garden of Restaurant Moto next door!

Note – occasionally I will slip in a KC – a “kind of” criticism or a “kindly conceived” criticism.  What do I know about new gastronomy?  Not enough to criticize harshly but they present and I eat therefore I feel compelled to ‘feedback’ if you will.

The bowl alone!  It's crab salad...deconstructed!

Som Tom Green Papaya-Crab-Lime          The bowl alone!  It’s crab salad…deconstructed!

This first course of crab salad. Note my beaker of Ginger/Elderflower/Grapefruit pinkness is almost gone!  The artful splashes of white are lychee fruit foam.  We were instructed to eat half the dish then to take a Miracle Berry which is harvested in Africa and when allowed to melt on the tongue it changes how you perceive the next bites — it makes sour sweeter!  And it works!   They serve the Miracle Berry on a small plate with a wedge of lemon so you have the lemon before and after consuming the Miracle Berry so you can taste the immediate effects!

KC – can we beef up the crab portions? Pun intended.  I would have loved to have seen some lumps.

The fanciest corn salad ever!  Those yellow blobs tasted like just delicious butteryness.

Elotes! The fanciest corn salad ever! Those yellow pillow-y blobs tasted like just delicious butteryness.  You know that butter smell of movie popcorn these little piles of love captured that in silky smooth taste.

Little tiny squares of FALAFAL.  Perfect, Tiny. Squares.  The highest calling for a chickpea!

Little tiny squares of FALAFAL. Perfect, Tiny. Squares. The highest calling for a chickpea!

KC – these should be sold by the dozen so I can pop them in my mouth while I watch sporting events. Or the guy who makes them can come live at my house for a few weeks and his only job is to make tiny, perfect squares of falafel.

The theme of all the courses was 'street food' so these were tiny, short rib baby tacos.  More tiny deliciousness.

The theme of all the courses was ‘street food’ so these were baby tacos made with pig face and cotija crema. Tiny deliciousness of yes, pig face.  More pork jowls, please.

Deconstructed lobster roll. The glorious perfect fish bit is bottom right and the blue squares are potato salad. I could have licked every plate!

The vegetable sticky rice coming our of carryout box is one of the most delicious blackened things ever created! Amazing

The vegetable sticky rice coming our of the carryout box is one of the most delicious blackened things ever created! Amazing

Deconstructed street meat.  Who knew?

Deconstructed street meat. Fancy Korean BBQ. Who knew?

There were wine and beer pairings that did not rock my palate so I left them off the radar.

There were courses of desert – delicious flecks of flavored shaved ice and a far afield cannoli that I thought could have been actually a little more constructed but overall it was a wonderful night of gastronomy-y food!

As a enthusiastic home chef and sometime caterer I can make my way around the kitchen but I have no earthly idea how these heavenly plates came to be so thank you to iNG!   Special thank you to Groupon, too!

Next up we went to Grant Achatz The Aviary  for drinks….

From → All Posts, Foodie MD

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