Jan

12

We’re proud to feature Nemo Lacessit, a Chicago boulevardier and bon vivant. Nemo will periodically review notable New York, London and Chicago restaurants for the edification of DailySpec readers.

Tru Restaurant - 676 N. St. Clair Street, Chicago, IL 312-202-0001

James Bond lives here; he always has and always will. Some restaurants try to be all things to everyone; sometimes it works, but many times it turns out to be nothing more than an overpriced meal with stuffy waiters. Not here, never here. You sense it in Tru, starting from the dialing of the last three digits of the phone number (001), to the nondescript entrance (no signs anywhere, just darkened majestic doors next to a brass square foot plaque with the TRU logo on marble), to the quiet light-bending anteroom with a single cobalt blue statuette of a female nude. You're here, but so is Bond. 

Whisked away to your table that has been memorized by the maitre d', you find yourself in a dining room with high ceilings and curtained windows (little light gets in, nothing gets out). White drapes taper to rich blue velvet banquettes, all floating off a rough black European mosaic tile and charcoal carpet. In one corner you might find the chairman of an exchange that recently merged with another exchange; in another you might find the scion of a Broadway theater mogul, here in town with his mistress, and along the back walls the moneyed crowd with their enhanced physiques, new hair, new tans, and fine jewelry. Tru is razor sharp in etiquette and makes no apologies for it; there are maitres d', majordomos, head waiters, assistant waiters, apprentices, busboys, apprentice busboys (a little like The Remains of the Day meets Gordon Gecko) and then there is caviar and Dom. 

Tru is known for its caviar staircase, an eight-step curved glass and mirror staircase sprinkled with caviar and its accoutrements. Chef Rick Tramonto takes you on a colorful palette of sophisticated culinary delights with a decidedly Cubist slant (most plates are square, rectangular, or some other variation of bounded geometry). Your dinner will consist of intermittent voyages from the water (as in Japanese Sashimi-Grade Fish with Complementary Garnishes), to the land (as in Elysian Fields Lamb, Coffee Lemon, Cardamom, Butternut Squash), to the air (as in Pheasant Consomme, Chestnuts, Butternut Squash), and finally to the cheeses. For desserts, pastry chef Gale Gand (she has a show on Food TV called "Sweet Dreams") brings out a dessert cart fit for a Tahitian Prince; this is like Richie Rich's version of the Good Humor truck. 

And though you might not see James Bond here, you know that he was here, scooping up the (now) illegal Beluga caviar or (now) illegal fois gras, sipping Dom Perignon '95 ('95 was better than '98, but it is $1,200/bottle). Stay long enough at Tru and birthday parties in Sardinia, $9,000 shower curtains, and interior decorators for private jets become de rigeur. For business types, this is your spot — if your company can handle it. An intimate dinner for four will easily breach most public companies' T&E limits. Attendance at this fine institution is mandatory at least every 18-24 months; but so is a viewing of any James Bond movie.


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