I’ve said it before and I will say it again. Chicago has been gifted with an amazing amount of culinary talent for one town. In order to celebrate my good fortune of living here during Chicago’s “gastronaissance,” as well as the fact that it stopped snowing and the sun is shining, I decided to treat myself to lunch. So, I hopped the CTA Green Line to the Fulton River District for a long overdue visit to Sepia, one of this town’s best restaurants.
Sepia is located just 1 1/2 blocks from the Clinton ‘L” stop which is absolutely convenient on a 27 degree day like today!
Chef Andrew Zimmerman oversees the kitchen at Sepia. He has a stellar reputation in Chicago and he has won many culinary awards. Since Chef Zimmerman assumed his position at Sepia, the restaurant has maintained a Michelin-star rating from 2011-present. The menu here is seasonal, organic, sustainable and supported by local artisan farmers. Here is how my lunch went down:
I started with the housemade sweet potato tortoloni with maitake mushrooms, hazelnut-chicory crumble and arugula. The tortoloni were soft and just al dente enough. The sweet potato filling was so sweet and creamy and the maitake mushrooms were fantastic. If you like mushrooms, you’ll love this dish. Although this was a a starter portion, I could have eaten 2 full-size orders of this dish easily 🙂
For my main entree, I chose the pan roasted cod with cauliflower, almonds, spinach and salsa verde. This is a gorgeous dish. The cod was incredibly flavorful and moist. The skin on the fish was perfectly light and crispy. The accompanying spinach, cauliflower, almonds and salsa verde were amazing. Since I am from the east coast, originally, I love cod. And, I must say, until today, I have not had a decent piece of cod in Chicago. So, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude and thanks to Chef Zimmerman for not only getting it right but making me want more. Seriously, Chef Zimmerman should teach a class on cooking the perfect cod!
I washed down my perfectly balanced tortoloni starter and cod entree with a refreshing raspberry lemonade. I am a lover of all things lemon and this drink was nice and tart without being too sweet. Delightful!
Usually, I skip dessert or simply sample whatever my dinner companions are trying. However, today, I was dining at Sepia where award-winning Pastry Chef, Cindy Schuman runs the show. I chose the most lovely almond sable with mocha mascarpone cream, chocolate and Kahlua anglaise. I am so glad that I did. It was a beautiful presentation of the most elegant and light flavors. Well done!
FUN FACT: Sepia is set in a old print shop from the 1890’s. It is adorned with memorabilia from throughout Chicago’s history.
The atmosphere at Sepia is elegant and contemporary with a bit of rustic charm which comes from the interesting artwork and other vintage artifacts found around the space. There are about 10 tables up front by the bar area which receives a good amount of sunshine during the day. This is where I chose to dine today.
I would like to point out that the lovely hostess was kind enough to ask me about my seating preference. Did I prefer to sit up front in the bar area or in the main dining room? As someone who does my share of solo dining I truly appreciate being asked where I would prefer to dine. I am a firm believer that “No one puts Baby in a corner” (HA!). I cannot say enough nice things about the entire staff at Sepia. They all made me feel very welcome from the time I entered the door until we said our goodbyes:)
The main dining space is lovely. I really dig the beautiful white chandeliers which light up that space.
During my lunch, there was really tasteful, soft music playing in the background. It was a soothing, nice touch without being loud or intrusive. A lot of care was taken into making Sepia the stand out restaurant it is today.
Sepia is located at 123 N. Jefferson Street. To learn more, visit www.sepiachicago.com.
In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA Green line to Sepia. Save gas money. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!