Chef Anthony Martin looks less like a chef than like a Catch Me If You Can-like teenager passing himself off as one. But as kids in the kitchen go, few have ever stepped into such a great toybox with such impeccable credentials. His tenure working for Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas gave him a solid grounding in running a kitchen at the highest levels, which means he brings Tru, a restaurant always known for glitz and over-the-top presentation, a solid grounding in classic French technique. The result is that when some perfect little spheres of consomme appear on a dish, they haven’t been formed out of weird chemicals, they’re simply holding together the way consomme did a hundred years ago if you cooked the bones down long enough. (That the same effect produces the most concentrated flavor is not exactly accidental.)
Yet he has also found his own path away from his mentor’s food, drastically cutting down the butter and cream and even breaking the traditional paradigm of the tasting menu building to a beef course; for spring and summer, at least, it ends on a lighter yet still satisfying note with deeply flavorful jidori chicken. As for the presentations… Martin is out to wow you as Tru has always done, but it’s not 1999 and it’s not about glam excess any more so much as telling a story with every plate. One dish is a living painting of a babbling brook; another pokes fun at Tru’s own reputation for laying on the caviar; and by the time dessert arrives, the Marx Brothers seem to have taken over the kitchen entirely. Though we haven’t given away all the jokes, our slideshow of Martin’s dishes and presentations from the Chef’s Collection menu show why Tru is in many ways the most artful and charmingly accessible of our four-star spots; see it below.