5 – 6 years in the past, at a avenue market in Bangkok, Thailand, we purchased a container of what appeared like clusters of inexperienced caviar however which had been sea greens of some kind—we simply weren’t positive what the heck they had been. I posted a photograph of those thriller edibles on Fb and requested if anybody knew what they is perhaps. Rod Markus of Rare Tea Cellar cleared it up for us, nearly instantly posting again that what we had there have been sea grapes, and that he might supply them from Okinawa, ought to we would like them. Because it was, these sea grapes, which the seller on the market informed us had been “salad, simply salad,” had been the most costly merchandise we bought that morning, coming in at about $three.50 for perhaps 4 ounces. We very a lot loved these sea grapes, which popped within the mouth to launch a marine blast of salty deliciousness. We doubted we’d ever see them in Chicago, the place the worth would seemingly be rather more than what we paid for them in Bangkok.
Sea grapes—offered by Markus and Uncommon Tea Cellar—are on the menu at Mansion on Rush, which opened Might 15, and which we checked out as a part of a media occasion a number of days earlier than. Chef Chris Traynor, previously of PL8 in Barrington, informed us that he’s going to introduce the ocean grapes as a garnish, which might be the correct option to go: if folks dig them on the facet of the plate, they’ll get an entire order of them.
Mansion on Rush makes a speciality of high-end menu objects, and when the substances are uncommon, our desire is to maintain issues easy. Working example: caviar. What units Mansion on Rush other than different high-end eating locations on Chicago’s North Aspect is the big vary of caviars and roes out there, together with sturgeon caviars like Emperor’s Beluga Hybrid and Golden Osetra, and among the many roes, Golden Rainbow Trout and Lake Superior Smoked Whitefish. To accompany all of the fish eggs, Chef Traynor prepares a number of sauces, together with crème fraiche, which is great, although when consuming such pricey meals, I favor to go commando, with minimal accoutrements—only a slight dap of sauce, the higher to savor the wonderfulness of the meals.
“The idea as I developed it,” explains proprietor Rodrigio Ferrari, “was to have a restaurant that served Japanese delicacies with a Latin affect,” and that twin focus is obvious within the Spicy Kampachi. It is a comparatively easy preparation of yellowfin on a chili salsa with smoked soy, ponzu pearls and micro cilantro. Although there was a little bit warmth within the salsa, and saltiness from the soy, the superb taste of the fish got here via cleanly…we favored it a lot, we ordered a second serving to of the Spicy Kampachi for dessert. The chili salsa displays the Latin affect of Chef Alberto Padilla, who got here to the Mansion on Rush kitchen to work with Traynor after a few years at La Scarola.
Traynor factors to the octopus with roasted purple pepper coulis and roasted tomatoes as one of many dishes most consultant of the Japanese-Latin delicacies at Mansion on Rush. “It’s the primary dish that Chef Padilla and I collaborated on, and it’s a mixture of his octopus and my sauces, a superb instance of how we each got here collectively to create one thing scrumptious and totally different.”
The pesto pasta introduced scallops and shrimp in a basil pesto over squid ink noodles. I face a slight conceptual hurdle with squid ink, which I attribute to an early fascination with the 1954 film model of Jules Verne’s “Twenty Thousand Leagues Beneath the Sea.” In a basic scene from that film, the large squid—bigger than Captain Nemo’s Victorian submarine—shoots out its murky and sinister-looking ink, which gave me nightmares and which at that age I’d by no means dream of consuming. I nonetheless am a little bit hesitant round squid ink, however this pesto pasta was a unbelievable preparation, and the deliciousness of the fastidiously sourced shrimps and scallops made this dish one other hit at our desk.
Once in a while I’m served one thing in a restaurant that makes me sit again and surprise, “What an incredible concept! Why didn’t I consider that?” Such dishes are often amazingly easy and incorporate substances which might be available in a house kitchen. Such a dish was the Roasted Avocado, simply the fruit, scored, drizzled with truffle oil. The charring and warming of the avocado, which is so usually served chilly or at room temperature, gave the easy fruit an opulent mouthfeel, and it has earned a spot on our summer time grill. I’m positive that after we serve it, our visitors can be shocked that avocado could be “cooked,” and that it’s so great when it’s.
Ferrari has large plans for Mansion on Rush, which because the night attracts on will characteristic a DJ in a extra club-like environment. The kitchen will keep open till the early morning hours to gas Rush Avenue revelers, and far of the meals (just like the Spicy Kampachi in addition to a number of maki rolls) will furnish the bite-size nibbles applicable to a celebration environment.
Ferrari is understandably happy with the area he’s created which like his restaurant’s costume code is perhaps described as “polished informal,” with comfy and classy furnishings and an airiness offered by the enclosed patio, which Ferrari informed us will quickly have a retractable roof, making it a superb place to sit back on a summer time night. To create the correct vibe, the menu makes it clear that Mansion on Rush’s “tailor-made experiences aren’t best for youthful visitors.” I’d agree.
Because the Chicago location of Mansion on Rush will get its remaining touches, Ferrari is waiting for this subsequent location in Dubai, which is already within the works and shortly to come back.
Eating and Ingesting Editor for Newcity, David additionally writes a weekly meals column for Wednesday Journal in Oak Park and is a frequent contributor of meals/drink and journey items to the Chicago Tribune, Plate Journal and different publications. David has additionally contributed chapters to a number of books, together with Avenue Meals Across the World, Avenue Meals, and The Chicago Meals Encyclopedia. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org