Charlie Trotters 
 Chicago, Illinois                                                      

Quick confession. I have not been to this place for some time, years in fact. It is outside of our usual travel, budget, and time allowances. However, this is the place that serves as our temple, the place we learned what was possible before heading out into the world to study the competition. This is where we ate for our 5th anniversary. After culinary school and having read two of the books based on his restaurant, it was our first trip to a place run by an absolute maniac. Every detail, no compromise, no surrender, Charlie has been seminal to almost every meal we have had out since.

Charlie Trotter's


Assorted Chocolates

Tasting menu, each offering paired with a glass. A fellow chef, the French but fun Michel Richard flown in from D.C. to alternate dishes with Charlie. A staff that is equal parts clairvoyant and magician. Unbelievable. Charlie once stated his dream is that in one nights service, his staff would anticipate every desire of his guests and have fulfilled their desire before they were able to voice it. I can not speak for other diners this night but his equally maniacal staff certainly made our table believe.

The evening started with 45 minutes of Champagne (the good stuff) and canapés. From eel terrine to smoked salmon every bite looked like an expensive cookbook photo and the flavors, familiar and strange, each only whet my appetite. Weirdly, my wife, who at this point remained frightened of most ingredients at the corner store let alone this place, took a chew of everything and appeared as interested in the next offering as I was.

Egg Symphony

Cuttlefish Fettuccini, Summer Vegetables & White Corn Cream

Tournedos of Lobster, Potato Napoleon & Citronelle Sauce

Lamb Three Ways

Once we were led to our table the onslaught began. Course after course, linguine that was actually squid, four egg dishes on a single plate except one of the eggs was actually cheese, this was a new world. To boot, things weren’t just fussy, they were outstandingly delicious. All for charity, apparently cause he’s just that kind of guy. Both chefs bothered to spend genuine time with folks who were interested and we left with bags of swag.

I won’t go into much detail here, I just wanted to give props to where much of this began. Enjoy the pictures, and if you are in Chi town skip the deep-dish, the sausage, the steak, or the dog for one evening, and the man will blow your mind.


Pistachio Crusted Skate Wing, Braised Arugula & Lemon-Curry Sauce

Veal Sweetbreads with Sweet & Sour Veal Tongue Sauce and Chanterelles

Raspberry Vacherin

  As a matter of fact, in one of the aforementioned books, Chef is quoted talking up his staff and their philosophy...

“Our staff includes a lot of people who are intelligent, that really get what we are trying to do, and are truly willing to give something from the heart. Their mind-set is, ‘there’s no such thing as the word ‘No.’ ‘ Whatever you can do to blow someone’s mind-you go for it.”
Charlie Trotter

We got to sit with a couple, one of which had ordered the vegetarian menu. I'll add a couple of pictures in case you feel serious chefs have no respect for vegetarians. Well, at least on the plate.

After Service




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