I just had an amazing meal at EL Ideas, a restaurant that is a cross between Sunday Dinner and Next. Located in a back alley near Chicago’s Tri Taylor neighborhood, all of the restaurant’s 16 patrons are treated to a view of the kitchen during dinner and are encouraged by the owner, Phillip Foss, to observe and even help cook and plate. I met Foss when he was operating the his Meatyballs food truck near the Aon center and got chased away by the cops. He managed to sell us some sandwiches before driving away. As good as the sandwiches were, the restaurant is far superior.
Our meal consisted of a 14 course dinner that lasted about 2.5 hours. With 12 savories and 2 desserts, it seemed that each dish kept getting better and better–“no, this is my favorite dish of the night.” The highlights were grouper served with carrot and kimchi, diced ham drizzled with cheese, foie gras with meyer lemon, and a cream soup with sweetbreads and lobster. Not only was everything flavorful, but all of the combinations of flavors just worked.
I say a cross between Sunday Dinner and Next because the limited seating requires purchasing a “ticket” and you feel like you are eating at someone’s dinner party. It is BYOB so bring plenty to drink. I am definitely going back.