I am always looking for a great excuse to book a sitter and hop the southbound train into the city. This month our destination date night was to Sepia, a farm-to-table restaurant housed in a former printing shop. Think industrially chic yet conversationally comfortable.
Jon and I are big fans of Steppenwolf Theatre and Broadway in Chicago and are always on the hunt for a place to hit before a show, so when the folks at Sepia told us they were extra good at the "pre-show dinner" thing, we jumped at the chance to give it a go.
Located at 123 N. Jefferson St., just moments from all things theater, Sepia is a great way to begin a night on the town.
I met up with Jon at Sepia after his work day and an event I had in the city. I was a tad late. But there's something spicy about a guy waiting anxiously for you at a table, sending you lots of "where are you?" texts and nervously anticipating your arrival. Who needs Fifty Shades of Grey?
We started off with a few beautiful appetizers, including strawberry gazpacho with radishes and almonds, English pea ravioli with hazelnut-chicory crumble and cucumber and smoked shrimp with buttermilk and dill. All were simply divine.
We were treated to a visit from the delightful and very cool Chef Andrew Zimmerman. He's on a mission to incorporate seasonal, "pristine natural ingredients" into his highly artistic courses. He supports local artisan farmers and creates his menu daily, based on what looks the best. His skill in the kitchen and culinary creativity are evidenced with every bite.
He's also the proud papa of 14-month-old daughter Zola, who loves blue cheese. Awesome.
As for entrees, I went a little nuts for the carnaroli risotto with asparagus, morels and pickled lemon. Crazy good. Jon was praying I'd learn how to make his favorite, the duck breast with turnips, black pepper gnocchi and duck jus (never happening).
With about eight entrees per night, there really is something for everyone. Even us vegetarians.
Sepia is one of those places you go to be surprised, intrigued and perfectly satisfied by dessert.
Meredith Sinclair is a freelance writer and blogger living with three quirky guys on Chicago's North Shore.
See more of Meredith's stories here.