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A TRU Experience

I surprised my husband with dinner at TRU for his birthday this year.  It was quite the amazing experience!  Can't wait to share it with you.  

Menu from TRU restaurant in Chicago

As you  can see above, it is an eleven course menu with an option of getting only seven courses. Those are the ones with the little leaf next to them.  We decided to go all out and get eleven courses.  The first two courses are actually three things served at once, so it is really like having 15 courses.  They also offer a wine pairing with both options.  While that sounded fun, I knew I couldn't drink that much and still taste the food by the end of the night. :)   So we ordered a bottle of wine from their extensive selection.  It was just the right amount and tasted delicious!

The wine we had at TRU restaurant in Chicago

The restaurant itself is very elegant and simple with modern artwork accenting the walls.  It didn't feel too quiet like some of these places can.  There was this one server who talked so loud.  It was cracking my husband and I up.  However, he was explaining the wine selections to people so we were learning a lot from him all evening...even though he wasn't talking to us.  :)

The inside of TRU restaurant in Chicago

Let's get started with the food.  

Pear and fennel from TRU restaurant in Chicago

Pear and Fennel:  It was like a cold soup.  I loved the sweet flavor of it.  It was served with the twisty crisp cracker/stick.  It was the first thing I tasted and I was excited to keep going!

The foie gras and honeycrisp apple at TRU restaurant in Chicago

Foie Gras and Honeycrisp Apple:  The "apple" was all foam on top of the foie gras.  It gave a little sweet & tart topping to the meaty flavor of the foie gras.  The foie gras itself had a mousse consistency. It was very creamy and delicious.  Another great course!

Sorrel and buttermilk at TRU restaurant in Chicago

Next was a terrarium.  Just was the Sorrel and Buttermilk.  We are still on the first course here people.  This was the third and last part of it.  Is it not the coolest looking thing?  I love the way they served it on the wood slab!  The green part was frozen and melted in my mouth.  The buttermilk portion is underneath.  They explained every course as it came and I wish I would have written it down, because I truly did not know what I was eating some of the time.  I thought this course was delicious, but my best description is that it was cold, mild, creamy and unexpected.  Who says you have to know what you are eating to love it!?

Maine Diver Scallop and Yuzu at TRU restaurant in Chicago

On to the first part of the second course (yes, the second course also had three parts).  This was the Maine Diver Scallop and Yuzu.  Yuzu is an Asian citrus  Another awesome way to serve the shell, on top of some sea salt...beautiful!  Nothing too crazy here, just a delicious scallop with some of the yuzu juice.  Basically, a really fancy ceviche.

Continuing with the raw theme, we have the Beef and White Truffle.  I really liked this!  I don't know what they had on the beef, but that, paired with the shaved truffle, made for an excellent taste in my mouth.  My husband is not a raw meat eater and he really liked this as well.  Win!

Caviar and Sea Urchin at TRU restaurant in Chicago

And the last part of the second course was Caviar and Sea Urchin.  The black is the caviar (duh) and the orange is the sea urchin, but I don't know what the white stuff is.  :)  I can best describe this course as creamy and salty with a little pop of the caviar...and delicious!

Unconventional "bread basket" at TRU restaurant in Chicago

This is what I call an unconventional bread basket.  It was served with the third course.  It isn't really bread, but crispy veggie strips.  It added a nice crunch to this course and I really liked the way they served it.

Lite sunchoke, trout roe and chive from TRU restaurant in Chicago

The third course was Lite Sunchoke, Trout Roe and Chive.  I was obsessed with this!  I loved the way the trout roe popped in my mouth.  It reminded me of those bubble teas you get at the mall.  The green around the outside is chive oil.  And a sunchoke is a type of artichoke.  Not sure how it was used here, but I loved the taste of this dish.  And it was pretty too!

Langoustine scented with juniper, caramelized chestnuts, savoy cabbage from TRU restaurant in Chicago

Another gorgeous styling of the food!  This is the Langoustine scented with Juniper, caramelized Chestnuts and Savoy Cabbage.  I made a little video for my YouTube channel which includes how this was served.  You have to see it!

Isn't that awesome?  Every course was served by several people at once.  I love that!  Anyway, this langoustine had the hint of Juniper smoke on it and the cabbage and chestnuts were good, but that sauce was INSANE!  I know why they serve this with the need something to get all that sauce up.  Incredibly creamy and delicious!  One of the best courses of the evening for us both!

Wagyu beef short rib in aromatics, spiced radish, umeboshi from TRU restaurant in Chicago

Wagyu beef short rib in aromatics, spiced radish, umeboshi: This one was plated so lovely that it looked like art work from above.

Wagyu beef short rib in aromatics, spiced radish, umeboshi from TRU restaurant in Chicago

I posted this on my instagram (happyhoyt) because I thought it was so artistic.  It tasted as good as it looks.  The leaf shape is a watermelon radish.  I love radishes!  My Dad used to grow them in our garden growing up and I would snack on them.  I'm also a big fan of meat.  This was cooked perfectly and I loved dipping each bite in the little pearl of sauce.  That is where the umeboshi came in.  That is a Japanese salt plum that I believe they used in the sauce.

Eastern skate wing, apple and celery, black truffle at TRU restaurant in Chicago

Eastern skate wing, apple and celery, black truffle: This fish course was one of my husband's favorite.  It was fabulous, resting in that juice with black truffles and apples sliced thinly over the top, but I had eaten so many amazing things at this point that it didn't wow me.  I kind of feel bad for it, because if I was just eating it, I would have thought it was amazing.  It didn't really stand a chance after all the innovation I had seen so far.  :)

eastern skate wing, apple and celery, black truffle at TRU restaurant in Chicago

It was served with a croissant and black truffle butter resting on a slab of slate.  If there was a word for "licking my lips" I would insert it here.

Cervena venison, black trumpet farro, gooseberry at TRU restaurant in Chicago

Cervena venison, black trumpet farro, gooseberry: Growing up in Arkansas I have had my share of venison.  None of it ever tasted like this!  So tender and just the right amount of gaminess that I like in my meat.  I didn't really care for the gooseberry stuff it was sitting in.  I liked it all by itself.  And the black trumpet mushrooms and farro were one of my favorite things of the evening.  Seems crazy, but it was so perfectly paired with the venison and I just loved it.  There was not near enough.  Oh, and check out that gorgeous plate.

Cheese plate from TRU restaurant in Chicago

Next up was the cheese.  You heard him start to describe them in the video.  We were able to pick three each from the selection, so we each picked three different ones and then tried all six.  They were served with honey, a fruit compote and bread.  We ended up liking four of the six. Wish I could remember the names.  :(

I didn't want to leave anything out so I'm showing you these honey orange madeleines they served with the next course.

Passionate marshmallow at TRU restaurant in Chicago

Passionate marshmallow: Definitely one of the best presentations!   This toasted marshmallow on a stick, stuck in a little log, was filled with passionfruit sorbet and covered with freeze dried mangos.  I thought it was going to be warm, but it was cold.  Very fun to eat!  And very delicious!

Passionate marshmallow at TRU restaurant in Chicago

He made a YouTube video showing how he did it. (Click here to see)  After watching this video you realize the work that goes into each and every one of these courses.  Pretty amazing!

Parsnip and honey, fig, port wine at TRU restaurant in Chicago

Parsnip and honey, fig, port wine: Another interesting presentation, but this was my least favorite course of the night.  It wasn't bad, but I just didn't get it.  I usually enjoy figs, but I didn't care for these at all.  At this point, we ordered some coffee and looked at the after dinner drink menu.

After dinner drink menu at TRU restaurant in Chicago

My husband ordered the Chartreuse Vert under the Digestifs section.  I didn't get a picture, but it was a small glass (like a shot) of this VERY strong, very herbally tasting alcohol.  And strangely, I liked it!  Go figure.  Time for desserts...yes, plural.

Chocolate in layers, Sudachi at TRU restaurant in Chicago

Chocolate in layers, Sudachi: Everyone knows what chocolate is, but did you know that Sudachi is a Japanese citrus fruit?  I think that was used in the flavoring of the sorbet.  Could be wrong.  I also seem to recall that the dusting over the top is lime related.  I'm all about super rich creamy chocolate and this was not it.  But it was an interesting pairing of sweet and tart.  I enjoyed it.

Birthday treat at TRU

As I mentioned, it was my husband's birthday.  So they included this little extra for him at this point.  I do enjoy special touches like this and putting Happy Birthday on the menu as well.

Special treats at TRU restaurant in Chicago

We thought we were done because the menu had no more courses listed, but we were surprised by these little delights presented in another unique way.  We had chocolate, macaroons, and tiny little cakes.  My favorite were the cherry almond macaroons.  The best macaroons I've ever tasted!  Our server was very sweet and brought me a few extra because I raved about them so much.

You saw this little bite in the video, smoking.  It looked like an explosion, which was cool because it exploded in your mouth.  They made sure to tell us to put the whole thing in our mouth at once.  It was chocolate with some liquid inside.  I liked the little gold piece on top.  Very fun to look at and eat....a perfect ending to our dinner.

To go treats from TRU restaurant in Chicago

As we left, there were some treats to take home.  I grabbed a few and had them for breakfast the next morning as I thought about our amazing TRU experience.  It was the most expensive meal I've ever had, but I would also say it was the best meal I've ever had.  I think the entire experience was worth every penny.  I would do it again tomorrow!        What is the best meal you've ever had?

This post is part of WIAW on, Foodie Tuesday, Inspire Me Wednesday & Travel Photo Monday, Wander Food Wednesday, TPThursday, Oh the Places I've Been


  1. We ate at Tru last year and also enjoyed it! We did the smaller meal though....ate at Moto the night before, and honestly liked the food at Tru much better. We did a coupkes foodie weekend in Chicago:

    1. Yes, I remember reading about that! There are so many places I want to try.

  2. I. Need. to. go! Wow...gorgeous food and your photos of them are fantastic. I really do have to go...on my list.

    1. You should! Thanks for the photo love, I used my iPhone because I didn't want to take out my giant camera. I was pretty happy with the way they turned out.

  3. This meal is fantastic looking. Watching that video made me feel like I was the one being served. I also clicked over to how they made the marshmallows. Wow, that is complicated. I'll have to remember this place if I'm ever in Chicago. You have stumped me by asking what's the best meal I've ever had. There are a lot of good candidates.

    1. I'm glad to hear the video added to the post. I never know if people are even watching them. :)

  4. The presentation of each of the courses is amazing! Looks and sounds like you were definitely in your element! Now was this trip to TRU for you or your husband? Just kidding. ;) It looks like you both had an amazing visit. I can't think of my best meal ever. I'm thinking....

    1. Okay, you got me Tonya! I wasn't going to take him somewhere that I didn't want to go! But I will say, he was very touched by me making all the plans and surprising him. We both had an awesome time!

  5. Wow, amazing, Sonja! I love the small touches, especially the personalized menu - definitely a keepsake.
    Okay, the food blew me away. The presentation, with the interplay of textures and colors - each plate is like a work of art, very ephemeral works of art and pleasing to the eye. It'd be hard to eat them. I'm glad you took your camera -- it'd difficult to describe them, wouldn't it?
    Love the video, you can tell the chef - he's more than a chef though - enjoys his work.
    Favorite meal? That'd have to be one we had at a friend's. She made the entire meal - all six courses with the proper pairing of wine. The meal lasted from mid-afternoon until late evening. It was perfect.
    Thanks for linking up this week, Sonja!

    1. Thanks, Marcia, for your great comment. That meal you had at your friends sounds awesome!

  6. My stomach is growling - timing is everything. Shouldn't have read this in the late afternoon -- great looking meal and what fun to eat so many appetising -- and artistic -- things!

  7. Your food photography was superb, and that meal just kept on coming. I agree that the log presentation was the best and I would love to pop that marshmallow in my mouth - sounds intriguing.

    1. Thanks! And yes, the log and marshmallow was so cool!

  8. My stomach is growling now, Sonja. Time for breakfast!
    I told a friend about your TRU post and she went when she was in C'go. Said it was divine.

  9. Sonja, I remember you telling me about this meal but the pictures are fantastic. I'm surprised you ate the meat though.

    1. Mom, this was from several years ago before I became a Vegan. I also just found out this restaurant is closed now. It's too bad, because it was a fabulous place!


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