One of my favorite things about living in Chicago is the abundance of delicious restaurants. Since moving to the city, Markus and I have been making our way through some of the hottest restaurants in the city. The best time of the year to visit the more expensive restaurants is Restaurant Week. For two weeks, restaurants throughout the city have prix fixe menus for lunch and dinner. As soon as the list was released, I immediately made reservations at Sepia. My friend Josh, recommended the Michelin starred restaurant. The four course menu is a steal at $44 and an opportunity we couldn't pass up.
Top: Cured mackerel, green olive, celery, golden raisin, toasted ciabatta
Bottom: Salad of fennel, blood orange, baby arugula, cashew dukkah, labne
Of all the courses we had, the first course was my least favorite. It's not that it wasn't good, it just wasn't memorable. To begin with, I'm not a fan of mackerel. It's a bit too fishy for me. The only time that I was able to truly enjoy mackerel was in Kyoto. Markus is a huge fan, so he loved the dish. I did enjoy the garnish, which was a perfect blend of salty and sweet from the olives and raisins. The salad of fennel was sort of a one note and didn't really wow me. I really can't even recall what I liked about it, but I do remember it was very refreshing.
Top: Braised duck raviolo, rosemary, medjool date, grana padano
Bottom: Soft boiled egg, mushroom ragu, black truffle butter, toast
This second course was incredible and I would eat both dishes again in a heartbeat. I love duck in all it's forms, it's one of my favorite meats. The raviolo was so good, seriously, one of the best dishes of the night. The sauce they used brought out the sweetness in the duck. Markus and I were both quite sad we had to share one. The soft boiled egg was good, but the real star was the mushroom ragu. I would order just a bowl of that and eat it all day.
Top: Spice crusted whitefish, potato masala, broccoli raab, coconut milk
Bottom: Grilled Berkshire pork collar, cheddar-corn spoon bread, collard greens, smoked apple butter, “pot liquor”
The third course was my favorite of the night with the best dish being the grilled Berkshire pork collar. The meat was so tender and flavorful and absolutely perfect with the spoon bread and collard greens. At the table next to us, a woman sent the dish back and it took everything in me to not grab it and eat it. The spice crusted whitefish was also very delicious and by no means a dud. The pork was just a knockout.
Top: Chocolate hazelnut tart, fig jam, pear, caramel
Bottom: Ginger-lime parfait, mango coulis, rum gelee, coconut crumble
The final course of the meal was just as good as the previous. Sometimes desserts in these pre fixe meals are a bit of an afterthought, but Sepia delivered. The ginger-lime parfait was so light and elegant. The flavors weren't overpowering and the coconut crumble added a nice texture. I preferred the chocolate hazelnut tart, because it was the kind of dessert that I always crave. It was chocolaty, but not too sweet. It was my last bite of the night and the perfect end to our first meal at Sepia.