Sunday, September 30, 2007


I didn't have overly high hopes for Tru. Sure, it's one of the so-called "great" Chicago restaurants but I'd heard from several people I know that it was overpriced, pretentious, and not worth the time and money. After our pretty perfect meal to celebrate our second anniversary last night I couldn't disagree more.

Despite calling a month prior, the earliest reservation put us at 9:45 pm. We took long, late afternoon naps to prepare to make sure we could fully appreciate the experience. We walked in through the lounge that's filled with lots of cool art of various sorts. The dining room is a large room with exquisitely high ceilings and the windows covered with soft white curtains. Given the late hour I expected the place to be clearing out but every table was filled and several parties were seated AFTER we were.

This place is all about the little details and they get major points from me in this area. A tiny stool just to store my purse for the evening (available for purchase online, of course). Customized menus printed to wish us a happy anniversary. The choice between white or black cloth napkins depending on what suits your outfit. Service timed such that everything happens in a synchronized fashion, from the unveiling of each course to the simple pouring of water.

We opted to try two of the tasting "collections." Peter chose the Chef's Market Collection and I went with the more seasonal Autumn Collection. Each featured nine courses, not including small extras like a delightful amuse bouche of tomato gelee and unlimited bread in three varieties. We both enjoyed nearly every course, and noted that the portion sizes were considerably larger than those we received at Charlie Trotter's. Highlights from my meal were the red and yellow beets, the almond-poached poussin (wow, this was stellar) and the homemade tagliatelli. Peter enjoyed the sashimi (it came with an unbelievable white soy sauce that had hints of pineapple) and the whipped salt cod, which I tried to eat as much of as he'd let me.

Both menus ended with a cheese course and dessert. The cheese cart featured three glorious rows of cheese separated into groupings based on the type of milk they were made of: cow, goat and sheep. We each chose three different selections and enjoyed the accompaniments of fruit and nut bread, fresh figs, apple chutney and champagne grapes. Our desserts were good but not great. I've had better sticky toffee pudding (one of my faves) but Peter's cherry coupe was a nice and light option. Each came accompanied by a homemade root beer float and were served with the painted plate pictured above wishing us a happy 2nd anniversary. Just when we thought we couldn't hold another bite, another cart of mignardises arrived at our table and we enjoyed a selection of tiny sweets including blackberry gelee, peanut butter fudge, pistachio toffee and homemade lollipops.

We didn't see a formal wine pairing option on the menu but did have the knowledgeable sommelier guide us to an extremely nice bottle of 2003 Savennieres, what I'd call an 'interesting' Loire valley chenin blanc. Its gorgeous honey color and taste to match made it the perfect complement to our courses across the board. As I'd never heard of the wine I asked our server to please write the name down for me. To my surprise and delight he went a step beyond and carefully removed the label off the bottle, taped it to a Tru notecard, and presented it to me at the end of our meal. Our other parting gifts included copies of our customized menus and an adorable mini loaf of pumpkin bread.

I found the service to be perfectly friendly and not overbearing. All in all, a truly lovely evening and way to spend an evening. Two years into our marriage I couldn't feel luckier to be married to a wonderful man and living in a city with such phenomenal food.

The damage: at $545 including gratuity it was just shy of what we spent at Trotter's, but we felt like the overall experience was worth much more.

Food: 4 3/4 out of 5 forks - excellent, and you won't leave hungry.

Romance: 4 3/4 out of 5 kisses - maybe we were just in exceedingly good moods, but it was pretty darned romantical!

Watch out for: the length of your meal. Ours took 4 hours so it was after 1 am when we finally left! Just be sure to get up and walk around a few times to keep the blood flowing in your legs, and you'll have fun checking out the super cool sinks in the bathroom.

676 N. St. Clair
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 202-0001


MT said...

You had me until the "root beer float". Of course I'm sure it was good. But seriously...

Signed by the man who ordered a Coke at the Maisonette.

Angie and Peter said...

Yes but it was HOMEMADE root beer. She sells that online too! Fresh ginger and vanilla...

MT said...

Oh...didn't know it was HOMEMADE. Sounds awesome.

I had a nice float in Waynesville over the weekend. Never been to Waynesville. I was underwhelmed.

Angie and Peter said...

Okay, my use of all caps might have been a little much. ;)

Waynesville is boring. My parents used to drag us there when we were little and we dreaded it.

MT said...

Yeah Waynesville sucks. Althought the Renaissance Festival is nearby and that goes way beyond sucking...