Tonight I get to try THE CLOVER... duh duh dunnnn.

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by nicko, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    After many many months of longing and saving our cash we are going to L2O for dinner tonight (valentines surprise). Every since Laurent Gras came to Chicago and started blogging about L2O I have been very interested in what he is doing at L2O and hoping to try it. Currently I believe it is the (or one of) most expensive restaurants in Chicago. Tough to beat Charlie Trotters but he is right up there with them.

    Of course I am excited to try the food (who wouldn't want to try Tuna snow) but I am also very very interested to try "The Clover" coffee machine they have. Have you heard of it? It is a very rare and special coffee maker that received a lot of press and then feel off the map. L2O is one of the few restaurants to own a clover which supposedly makes some of the most incredible coffee you will taste.

    What happened to the clover was not long after L2O purchased theirs Starbucks bought the company. So now if you want to try this amazing coffee there are only a few starbucks in the US where you can and as far as I know L2O.

    So after a long wait I am going to L2O tonight and not only do I get to try some amazing food from a very amazing chef I also get to try the much talked about "Clover" coffee maker.



    If you have not checked out chef Laurent Gra's blog I highly recommend it:

    L2O Blog

    Blog post about the Clover
    L2O Blog: The Clover


    Anyone been to L2O yet? Did you try the clover coffee?
     
  2. cape chef

    cape chef

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    Have a great time Nicko,

    I hope they allow photos.

    Hope you will be able to tour the kitchen. I heard it is pretty cool.
     
  3. sgmchef

    sgmchef

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    I look forward to hearing your review of coffee and the rest of the meal!

    Bon Apetite!
     
  4. homemadecook

    homemadecook

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    Great deal. ENjoy your date!
     
  5. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    So, Nicko, do we get a report on your night out?
     
  6. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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     Hold on guys I have the photos I want to share but I have been so darned wrapped up in the spiffy new platform I haven't loaded them yet. I will do this tonight. 

    A pre-quel to the summary - The clover coffee maker coffee was outstanding. Had a lengthy discussion with our server regarding it.
     
  7. duckfat

    duckfat

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    I remember going on a search for a cup of clover coffee that failed. I always wanted to try it. IIR the machines are like 12 large! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif
     
  8. leeniek

    leeniek

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    Have a great dinner and enjoy the coffee!
     
  9. gummy-bear

    gummy-bear

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    s:12:"At home cook";
    Austin has 2 clover coffee machines that I'm aware of but I haven't been out of my way to try it. By the way you're talking about it though, I might have to.
     
  10. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    Ok so the dinner at L2O was amazing. Of the fine dinning restaurants I have been to in the past year and up till now it is the top. It reminded me a bit like Alinea but not quite as theatrical. The flavors were outstanding, service was impeccable (yes I said it guys the service was great). There is a lot of attention to detail at L2O from the house churned butter which was amazing, to the silverware and how it is presented.

    Technically speaking I think Laurent Gras is a genius. Some of the techniques were just very very slick and they tasted great. Few notables would be:

    • Telicherry aspic - completely clear. Almost looked like piece of plastic. 
    • Soy salt - made with dehydrated soy sauce. Very tasty
    • Large Parmesan wafers.
    • Foie Gras Snow - Almost like a lightly flakes foie gras powder. Very cool texture and taste.
    • The most perfect chocolate box I have ever seen. There is actually a very detailed post on Laurent's blog about how they got the chocolate boxes to the Constancy they wanted. See photo below.

    In regards to the coffee from the clover machine it was quite good. Probably the cleanest tasting coffee I have had. It might sound goofy to you but it was almost like tasting wine in that you really good get down to some of the detailed flavors in the coffee that often get overshadowed by slight bitterness. I also noticed the coffee was served at the precise temperature which has a big impact on flavor. Very lame that you can only try this coffee in Chicago unless you go to L2O. But good for them for having such a great product and keeping such a high standard. It made me wonder what they would of went with had they not gotten the Clover machine just before Starbucks swooped in and bought the company.

    A couple of things that I was surprised by were that the dinning room was a bit bland. I was surprised that there was not one piece of art on the walls just a lot of cloth, and steel wires are used to separate parts of the room.  The portions seemed small to me and I often wanted to taste a bit more of what I was trying. Maybe I was just being greedy.

    Either way this restaurant goes on my "Highly Recommended" list for all in Chicago or visiting.

    Here are a few photos.


    House churned butter served in an inverted container

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    Shimaaji, Red Miso, Radish, Soy Salt  (Mackerel)
     


    [​IMG]




    Peeky Toe Crab Bolognese

    [​IMG]

    Lobster served two ways - Butter poached and tempura. Telicherry pepper aspic


    [​IMG]



    Chocolate Surprise: Guanaja, Praline, Almond


    [​IMG]

    Raspberry, Golden Yuzu, Mascarpone

    [​IMG]

    The red dots are raspberry pearls. Fresh raspberries served with golad leaf

    [​IMG]


    Clover coffee service.

    [​IMG]


    Some swanky couple siting in the restaurant.


    [​IMG]







     
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2010
  11. allie

    allie

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    I really feel like a small town hick now.  I had never heard of that place before and have NEVER eaten anything so beautiful. I think I would feel bad destroying those beautiful creations!  I watch the shows on tv or look at pictures of plated foods online and that's as close as I have ever come.  Looks like a nice time Nicko.  Thank you for sharing your evening with us.
     
  12. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    No way don't feel small town. When you get a chance get out and try a cool place like L2O it really is an amazing experience. With a little experience you will learn the best way to save money and not spend a fortune. For example when we went to Paris we had the prix fix lunch at one of the top restaurants and even though it was expensive it was way cheaper than a full dinner.

    Do what we do and save up for it. Places like this are a once or twice a year for us because it does cost. The important thing to remind yourself when you go is to enjoy it. Sometimes I have gotten so intimidated going to such a high level restaurant. If your not sure just ask and if they are a pro staff they won't make fun of you.
     
  13. leeniek

    leeniek

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    I'm glad you had such a great time!  I have been to many upscale places in Toronto and other cities but nothing I have experienced compares to the pictures you posted.  When we dine out no matter what kind of place it is my husband asks me all of the questions about the menu so to our server he looks like he knows what he's talking about..  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif  

    We will be in Chicago in May ( I posted about this in the late night cafe a while back) and well.. we deserve a date night and I would like to try L2O.  Dare I ask the average price per person so I know how much USD to bring along?
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2010
  14. kirstens

    kirstens

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    Too swanky for my blood but great pics. The bolognese caught my eye. As for the pricing, I'm interested too. Notice how they don't show them in their menu........must be wow-za. I've been wanting to go to Avec but like you said Nicko, need to save up. Usually spend my time at the family owned Italian restaurants, just as good in my opinion but L20 does look like a treat.
     
  15. allie

    allie

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    Well, I'd definitely have to save up but I have never even been to Chicago.  I live on the other side of Indiana and have never been that far west.  I get up into Michigan fairly often but usually end up eating fast food because we're on the run with Les's job.  I have never heard of any truly upscale restaurants within easy driving distance of me.  Maybe one day, I'll have the opportunity to do some traveling.  Until then, I love to live vicariously through others.
     
  16. cape chef

    cape chef

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    Nicko, looks like you had a great meal. The radishes look slightly translucent, were they cooked or raw? Was the butter poached lobster and tempera hot/warm?


    Thanks for sharing your dinner with us.
     
  17. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    Cape,

    I think the radishes were slightly cooked but not too much just right. The butter poached lobster was warm not hot. The tempura was a little hotter.

    Here is a picture of the tuna with foie gras snow:

    [​IMG]


    Tuna is the red stuff (ha ha) the powerdy stuff is foie gras snow and the little yellow dollops are olive oil. The flavors were amazing.
     
  18. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    OMGGGGGG!! I see what you mean about the resemblance to Alinea. I can tell it's a "save up" place. I strongly agree with your observation about a professional service team going out of their way to keep you from feeling like a rube. How well I remember that when we were at Tru! (My husband's braised beef fell on the floor thanks to some over-aggressive knife usage. Almost before the meat hit the floor, the staff were there to retrieve it. They brought another beef entree to replace it. I was bowled over. When we ordered wine, the sommelier was very tuned into our budget, and talked up wines we could afford. Perfect.
     
  19. homemadecook

    homemadecook

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     I like the hotter tempura. Nicklo, feels you have a great valentine evening. CHeers!
     
  20. gonefishin

    gonefishin

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        Looks nice Nicko!  A few of your pictures really caught my eye...but everything looks so good!  Maybe I'll have to move L2o up on our list.

      Thanks for the review.
      dan