Goosefoot

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So Goosefoot is not named after the anatomical part of a goose.  It is so called because of a family of plants that the proprietor likes to cook with.  This information is on their website, but I didn’t read it.  It was nice to get the explanation from the chef himself.

I can see why Chicago magazine listed it in their top 20 new restaurants of 2012.  I’m not sure I would place it above Next as the top pick, but it was really very good.  Chef Chris Nugent and his wife were delightful.  She runs the front of the house and he is in the back.  It makes for a warm and friendly evening.

As to the food, everything worked.  One can taste the classical French influence of Chef Nugent’s training in the sauces, which tended to be rich and creamy.  Of course, the quail and beef dishes were favorites, but I particularly liked the Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese dish that was served with a tapioca crisp.  It is not something you usually experience in a prix fixe menu.  The restaurant is BYOB so bring plenty of wine as the meal lasts a couple of hours.

Boka

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Part two of the Michelin star tour was a visit to Boka, the flagship restaurant of the Boka Restaurant Group.  I had already been to executive chef Giuseppe Trentori’s namesake restaurant, GT Fish and Oyster Bar in River North as well as The Girl & the Goat, but hadn’t yet made it to the original restaurant.

The menu looked tasty, and because it was my first time there, I decided to try the  tasting menu (they have  a 4, 6, or 9 course option).   The six-course prix fixe menu sounded about right, and I enjoyed everything.  There was a Bento box presentation of raw fish–my favorite was the Adobo-rubbed tuna.    The savory dishes included the salmon, lamb, and duck breast off of the regular menu.   The only thing that I would have liked to try was the pork “osso busco,” so that will have to wait until the next visit.

Hello, Moto

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Moto Restaurant has been open since 2004, but despite its many accolades, I have never made it there–until now.  It recently received a coveted Michelin star for 2012, and the news encouraged me to go.

Chef Cantu’s signature innovations were on display:  his custom-designed fork, with its corkscrew shape that held fresh sprigs of oregano, and his special “trade secret” printer that can print on edible menus.  As you can see in the pictures, the menu was printed using this technique.  The menu also served as a wrapper that the diner is supposed to make a maki roll with the included bamboo mat.  The fork accompanied a pasta made with freeze-dried chicken “dough.”

My reaction to the initial reviews when the restaurant first opened was that the menu was too gimmicky for me.  However, after experiencing it for myself, I have to say that I had fun while also enjoying the meal.  Other surprises included a dish that had oysters “smoked” at the table.  A mysterious smoke-filled globe is placed on the table with a small opening to let the smoke escape, revealing oysters in the shell inside.  Then there was the table candle that was poured onto another dish.  The fuel was apparently some kind of edible material.  My favorite dish was the cigar, made with collard green “tobacco.”