Before the days of Charlie Trotter’s or Alinea, Chicago wasn’t exactly one of America’s most dynamic food cities. Thanks to such visionary restaurants however, the city has become a focal point for cutting edge cuisine in the States. Among the stylish restaurants that have opened within the last few years is Sepia, serving interesting food in a cosmopolitan environment.
The interior is fairly slick at Sepia, dark colours, mirrors, chandeliers and the likes are what dominate in this attractive surrounding. A nod to the building’s history, a view-camera is to be found in the dining room too, informing guests of the fact that this once was a printing house. The room however is unmistakably modern, be it with that touch of old-fashioned memorabilia that adds a nostalgic element to it all. Happily the food matches this interesting and comforting environment.
Chef Andrew Zimmerman cooks food that is both simple and not overly hard to understand. He is a fan of both French and Italian cuisine, which are clearly sources of inspiration if one looks at the dishes he sends out. On the menu one can find charcuterie, pasta, and all other types of home-made little parcels of delight, which showcase not only the technical skill of the kitchen, but showcase the spirit of chef Zimmerman’s cuisine: generosity and flavours.
Hearty flavours are often present at Sepia, with dishes such as cotechino, green lentils and salsa verde. This is a dish that uses a classical combination – pork and lentils – and adds a bit of freshness with the help of the salsa verde. Other simple dishes would be tagliatelle with wild mushrooms or country-paté.
Whilst these dishes are simpler, Zimmerman is also capable of producing more elaborate and complex food. Pork belly with savoy cabbage and peanut-chili sauce is a delightful riff on another tested and tried combination. In the case of dumplings filled with bone marrow, foie gras and truffle in an oxtail consommé, one has trouble to really criticize much, as the richness of the flavours is quite simply delicious.
To conclude, one can only say that this is a beautiful restaurant, which is both casual and stylish. Mixing elements of Italy and France, to produce gutsy food Sepia is certainly a restaurant to watch in Chicago.