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L2O Review
Chopsticks of Pleasure 2300 Lincoln Park West
Chicago, IL 60614
Rating: Chopsticks of Pleasure
Great seafood and service, but make sure you can afford it.

My parents at the table.

With me.

Warm Entree 2 - Halibut.

In front of their giant spice closet.
Yes, it's been a long time coming, but here is my review of L2O. I was planning to take lots of pictures and notes of the dinner but with the dim lighting I couldn't get a decent picture. Flashes don't work so well with macro shots and I'm sure it would have been distracting to the other patrons. There are some related pictures at LTH Forums and on the L2O Flickr Pool. I should get a DSLR...

I went to L2O with my parents, Natatia and one of her friends. To start with, my mom and I ordered the L2O Gimlet which is Plymouth gin with Aperol, an Italian orange-rhubarb apertif, and a house made lime cordial. It was quite good, which it had better be for $17.

For dinner we ordered four 12-course meals at $165 per person and a 4-course meal for $110. In addition to these courses we had two amuse-bouches, two pre-desserts and two post-desserts (mignardise). At this point I can't remember all the details and the menu doesn't have everything described, but here's what I found or remember:
  • Amuse 1: Oyster and Caviar
  • Amuse 2: Shimaaji, Red Miso, Radish, Soy Salt
  • Raw 1: Geoduck, Citrus, Wasabi
  • Raw 1*: Fluke, Lemon Vinegar, Caviar, Basil Seeds
  • Raw 2: Kinmedai, Cherry Wood Scented, Shiso Bud
  • Raw 3: Tuna, Hamachi, Yuzu, Soy Sauce, Olive Oil
  • Raw 4: Hokkaido Scallop, Jalapeno, Parsley, Bergamot
  • Bread 1: Pain au Lait - tender milk bread
  • Bread 2: Pain au Campagne - Naturally leavened country bread
  • Bread 3: Mini Baguette
  • Bread 4: Bacon Epi
  • Bread 5: Anchovie Brioche
  • Warm 1: Morel, Asparagus, Parmesan Parsley
  • Warm 1*: Lobster Bisque, Chestnut, Lobster Dumpling
  • Warm 2: Halibut, tomato water gelee, tomato heart, golden spinach, Chablis-tomato bouillon, potato emulsion
  • Warm 3: King Salmon, Corn, Cilantro, Chorizo Boullion
  • Main 1: Sturgeon
  • Main 2: Black Bass, Shellfish Boullion, Saffron, Rhode Island Mussels
  • Main 3: Crispy Skin Pork Belly, Truffle, Potato
  • Main 4: Shabu Shabu Medai, Kombu Boullion, Citrus, Porcini, Noodles
  • Pre-Dessert 1: Melon Ice
  • Pre-Dessert 2: Passion Fruit Marshmallow
  • Dessert 1: Mango Sorbet, Exotic Fruit consomme, lemongrass meringue, pineapple & mango brunoise, papaya seeds
  • Dessert 1*: Chocolate Raspberry - Ganache, Cherry Sorbet, Cotton Candy
  • Dessert 2: Praline Soufflé
  • Dessert 2*: Grand Marnier Soufflé
  • Mignardise 1: Canelé - custard bread
  • Mignardise 2: Pistachio Macaroon
* indicates this was served with the 4-course meal.

Overall, I enjoyed the dinner quite a bit, though I do understand why some people get a bit tired of all that seafood. I was glad they broke that up a bit with the pork belly. After dinner, I ordered a Grand Marnier cent-cinquantennaire, unfortunately, they only had the centennaire edition ($37). It wasn't quite as wonderful as the cent-cinquantennaire, but it was still beautifully smooth and wonderfully tasty.

My dad thought it was the best dinner he's ever had. My mom took home some of her black bass and even the doggie bag was beautiful. Total cost of the dinner, drinks and a bottle of wine was $1222.46 after which they provided us with a tour of the kitchen. I will note that the kitchen seemed much busier than Trotter's for some reason. I also wonder about the large private room they have in the kitchen which can seat a good 20 people. I'd like to work for a company that would hold meetings there!

From a food view point, if you love seafood, then I'd definitely recommend L2O as a fine dining destination. If you want more variation and want to try intriguing and new items, then I recommend Charlie Trotters. If you want an excellent classic french meal then go for Everest. If you want modern ecclectic, then go for Tru.

From an ambiance view point, Tru is stiffer and more sterile with it's amazingly choreographed service. Everest is intimate and comfortable. L2O is right in the middle: there is more space and less stiffness than Tru but it does feel more structured and modern than Everest. I can't do a comparable rating of Trotter's b/c we ate at the kitchen table which is very different from the restaurant.
Posted 07/21/2008 09:34 PM in Chicago, Food, News, Restaurants, Reviews | Total Comments: (4)
Link To This Blargh


next up...alinea!
Submitted by caroline on 07/23/2008 02:49 PM

Glad you enjoyed the restaurant (especially considering the cost), but I'm even more glad to see you posted on LTHForum. Here's to more great meals (and pictures)!
Submitted by Dan on 07/24/2008 05:58 PM

Yeah, I've been a troll for a while but started to actually post.
Submitted by filbert on 07/25/2008 01:47 AM

Very compelling post...but I'll have to think about it...we've already got reservations to two expensive places (Alinea and Moto) so I kind of want the other meals to be reasonable.
Submitted by Jessica@Foodmayhem on 09/16/2008 07:58 PM

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