A few weeks ago, I got to enjoy a night out that included catching up with some of my favorite bloggers, learning about fancy speciality cocktails and indulging in a six course tasting menu at IPO. Not bad, right? (Also, how pretty is this photo that Kit snapped?!)
I’m always intrigued by cocktails that involve fire (Hello, Old Fashioneds), so when Lauren Parton showed us how to smoke mint for one of her drinks, I was on board. She also played around with fun presentations and interesting flavor combinations. And yes, I had a few champagne mojitos 🙂
IPO‘s Executive Chef, Fernando Coppolla, came out to welcome us and talk about the menu and his influences. He has worked in highly regarded kitchens all over the world, from Argentina to Puerto Rico to Chicago. His food is simple, highlighting his love for seafood and in-season produce. In other words, we were in for a treat.
The first course was a colorful Hamachi Crudo. There were some amazing dishes, but in retrospect, I think this one was my favorite. Light, flavorful, perfectly seasoned, and beautifully presented. Plus, the avocado puree and yozu ponzu sauce made me want to lick the plate. Don’t worry, I didnt.
Next came an arugula and chorizo salad served on a bed of cannellini beans with a xerez vinaigrette. I eat a lot of arugula and cannellini beans, but I rarely ever put them together. The combination, along with a little salty chroizo made this salad anything but boring.
I love risotto (evidence here and here), but this one was different. They used farro instead of arborio rice, which was a great base for the wild mushrooms, kabocha squash, and heirloom carrots. So earthy, hearty, and perfect for fall.
Maine Lobster Ravioli. I’m not sure what else needs to be said about this one…
The last savory course was the Chilean Sea Bass Confit. Who knew the white flaky fish would be enhanced when eaten with creamy saffron orzo and salty serrano ham? I would never have thought of this dish, but it was delicious.
And just when we thought we were done, this came out. It’s called the patagonia, and while I’m not a huge dessert gal, I couldn’t help but appreciate the creativity and presentation in front of me. Chocolate cake, gelato, and candied mushrooms never looked so pretty.
And… then I went home and slept like a baby. Yumm! I know you don’t normally see restaurant reviews on LSL, but this was such a fun night and the meal was too good not to share. IPO is located in the lobby of the W Chicago City Center, right in the heart of the loop.
Have you tried it yet?!