Living in Chicago, I’ve experienced some of the best eats in the world. It’s a passion of mine that has added a few lbs to the waist line and subtracted quite a few $$s from the bank account. However, in the past year (in an effort to save money and finally use all of my really cool cooking gadgets), I’ve taken my affinity for foodie eats to my own kitchen.
I’m no Top Chef… yet… but I have cooked octopus sous vide style and hosted a dinner party featuring balsamic rosemary filet mignon, cauliflower mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts. I am fairly confident I used every cooking gadget I have for that meal – from sous vide to immersion blender, from instant pot to food chopper and everything in between. I felt pretty impressive, but not as impressive as this epic cheese plate we created:
While I’m getting better in the kitchen, I well aware of my reduced presence at dining establishments around town. I yearn for nights I get to get all dressed up (and force my love to do the same), sit down at a nice restaurant, and let some of the best chefs and hospitality staff in the world cater to us. Fortunately, my amazing boss suggested I go out to a nice dinner to celebrate the launch of our new website (more than a year of hard work when into the creation of that bad boy!), so go out to a nice dinner I did.
I was excited to try Temporis, a sleek 20-seat fine dining spot in West Town with an 11-course tasting menu! [4.8 stars on OpenTable, 4.5 stars on Yelp, no Michelin Stars… yet!]
As the typical experience lasts around 2.5 hours, we chose to book an early reservation so we weren’t up past our bed time. When we arrived at 6 p.m., we were told we were the only reservation at that time so we’d have the place to ourselves. We ended up having it to ourselves the whole night.
11-Course Tasting Menu
When we visited, the co-chefs Sam Plotnick and Evan Fullerton, formerly of Les Nomades, were serving up an 11-course tasting menu at $125 per person (wine pairings were available for $95 or $165). The menu featured escargot*, faroe island salmon, capellini, octopus*, cauliflower, guinea hen, venison*, kombucha, sofia, foie gras ice cream*, and a chocolate dessert.
Starting with the escargot was perfection – it was a one-bite flavor sensation. As we moved through the other courses, we found that some were absolutely beautifully plated, but the flavor blends didn’t offer anything unique enough to stand out. Until we got to the octopus… game changer. For both of us, the octopus with miso, eggplant and iberico was the best course of the meal. I would’ve traded out a few courses for more of this one:
The next course that was worthy of mention was the venison with madeira, kabocha and apple. This one had an interesting flavor profile and I found it difficult to distinguish what exactly I was tasting. But it was great. I don’t have a picture to share as I tried to enjoy my date vs. taking loads of pictures. However, I pulled the camera out for one last pic as the first dessert course was delivered.
Pouring from outside of this glass dome was campfire smoke – it actually smelled like sitting around the bon fire back in Michigan where I grew up. As you pulled the glass dome away, foie gras ice cream was revealed. This was one of the most memorable plates of the night. Presentation was outstanding, I always love a bit of nostalgia, and the flavor was surprisingly exceptional.
Overall, while I would have loved to share this dining experience with some strangers (if for nothing else but some white noise), it was wonderful to get dressed up and share the night with my love. While the menu didn’t achieve an 11/11 for me, there were 4 dishes that struck my fancy and left a lasting impression.
The restaurant is decorated beautifully – it’s simple and modern, but elegant. The service was fantastic, very attentive. And they offer a microgreens garden at your table; some might find it pretentious, but we thought it was a nice extra touch.
I’d like to see Temporis stick around, refine and enhance their menu (and wine pairings). It’s great to have something like what they offer in the neighborhood. Check it out and let me know what you think of your experience!