Best Of MenuPages Reviews: SepiaMania!

We may not do reviews at MenuPages, but our legions of users are all over that. Here are four of interest.

It’s been a long time since a new restaurant has gotten such fantastic feedback so soon after opening, but so far, it seems, Sepia can do no wrong. Take a look at these reviews from the past two weeks:

On July 12th, “Anonymous” wrote:

Everything has been done well by the staff and the chef! I would say to get a reservation early, as it is getting difficult to get a table. The baby octopus is fab, and definitely go for the flatbread.

and “chris59” added, “Nice place …. and nice food”. Neither of these reviews were particularly relevatory, but three days later, “Steven P.K.” dropped a huge one:

We tried Sepia, on a whim, on our way to Avec. From the moment we entered it was a wonderful experience. Tall paneled doors at the entrance, looking like they came from some long gone institution, are surrounded by walnut paneling and lead you inside. The dining room is not like the barren Zen experiences you might expect from hip new restaurants in the city. The mood set is one of comfort and simple edgy elegance. The latter of these two descriptions coming from the four large translucent drum encased crystal chandeliers that hang in the middle of the dining room, each above its own table. We were seated at one of two large communal tables, sitting at bar height, that had a great view of the room and a unique dramatically lit wine storage system climbing the walls to our backs. The room itself is enough entertainment value to be given by the price of a meal. But then the menu arrives and there is more. We didn’t even get to the entrees and grill items before being overwhelmed by the unique choices offered as starters, flat breads and sides. We decided to order small plates and come back for entrees another time. We started with the bacon, peaches and blue cheese flat bread, chilled cucumber/avocado soup with smoked trout (kindly split for us with no need to ask) and roasted rabbit with ricotta dumplings. The portions were generous as appetizers and fully enough to share between 2 people. We then ordered the pork rillette with fig preserve and pistachio bacon brittle and the sweet corn with peppers. The pork rillette was decadent with its fatty richness and the corn could have been served as a dessert for its sweetness. The rillette was served with a rustic herbed bread which I thought a bit complex for everything else on the plate. This was only a small item, in the spirit to achieve perfection as no one ever can, for which I saw room for improvement. The pistachio bacon brittle, however, was a perfect compliment to the pork.

Wow, that’s quite an endorsement. We trust anyone who can get away with a phrase like “simple edgy elegance” to describe a restaurant’s mood to also be a good judge of the restaurant’s food. Then again, “decadent with its fatty richness” sort of engenders an eyeroll. But we love it when we’re splitting dishes and the restaurant actually splits the dish for us - an unfakeable mark of good service. And pistachio bacon brittle are the three greatest words in the English language.

Finally, on the 20th, “Michel” summarized the emerging feeling about the place, writing, “This a “must” destination for anyone that appreciates great food, service and decor. Unbelievable that it’s only been open for a few days! Run, don’t walk to Sepia!” And by the way, we don’t think any of these are shills, since the universal lovefest continues over at LTHForum. Heed Michel’s advice and make your reservation while you still can.

Sepia [MenuPages]
Sepia [Official Site]

[Photo: no photo. Want to try to do an image search for “sepia” + “chicago”? You get a bunch of brown-shaded faux-artsy pictures of the Chicago skyline. Lame.]


Best Of MenuPages Reviews: SepiaMania!