Sunday, July 22, 2012

5 Molecular Gastronomy Highlights - Moto

Adding fog to marshmallows

Food science. I never really understood it until I ate at Moto in Chicago.

They will give you food they call "food". Appearances are not what they appear to be and they will cook things unconventionally. It is not uncommon to see a blow torch, oxygen tank, fish bowl, or steamer at your table. You will be surprised. You will be amazed.

Take it for what it is. Moto is not a place where you will get a 12 ounce steak or whole lobster. You will get bits and pieces of the cow and sea but nothing more. Moto is all show and tricks. I was fine with that and was pretty full at the end of the meal. Not stuffed, but satisfied. I've been eating non stop in Chicago anyway.

We did the tasting menu in the lab downstairs and it was spectacular, complete with a tour of the kitchen. The experience was really something. 

Top 5 highlights of our meal included:

Savory Corn Ice Cream
5.  Reconstructed Corn- Savory corn ice cream popsicle complete with kernels someone placed one by one with a tweezer. You would have never known it was not a corn on the cob until you finished the whole thing. Completely edible. No cob! It's ice cream!

Cheese from France
4. Zen Garden- Time to play with your food! The gravel was cheese and the rocks were chocolate. The garden came with a little wooden rake so you could make your own design and have an "Om" moment.

Chicken Noodle 
3. Kentucky Fried Pasta- The chicken was dehydrated and crumbled into flour. They made a noodle out of it. The skin was served crispy on the side. There was a biscuit. Powdered buttermilk gravy. A specially designed fork entwined with a fresh rosemary sprig. It smelled amazing. Tasted great too. Dehydrated chicken noodle. Who does that? Forreal?!

2. Egg Drop Soup- They created a solid membrane around mango puree to make it look like an egg yolk. I learned how to do this food science trick at a friend's house and it is not easy at all. Hats off to the crew at Moto. They are skilled in what they do.

Ready to be lit on fire
1. Acme Bomb- A Valrhona chocolate bomb complete with a marshmallow wick which they lit on fire. Once the wick melts away you pop the chocolate bomb in your mouth. Death by chocolate! It's rich and delicious if you love chocolate, especially melted hot chocolate. The center of the chocolate bomb was liquid graham cracker. And you live. 

The meal was spaced out and we were not rushed out the door. The staff was friendly and we had a great time exchanging banter with them. Moto is in a desolate industrial area. Since we were tourists without a car, Moto called us a cab. It was 5 star service all the way. They even tweaked their menu for our guests who could not eat nuts. Usually the substitutes are bland but Moto did not disappoint. We were drooling over the risotto dish they got. Everyone wins at Moto. For a first time experience at a food science restaurant, I was blown away.

945 W. Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607

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