Today's Groupon gets you $60 worth of American fare as imagined by executive chef Thomas Elliot Bowman at Otom, the sister restaurant and semordnilap of chemistry-driven, haute cuisine Moto. Chicago Magazine describes Otom's minimalist orange dining room as "a cool space—bright stripes, exposed brick and purse hooks on the tables." Its sparsely elegant setting is designed to let the fusion of comfort food and haute alchemy radiate flavors, colors, and textures.
Otom's current menu sports savory starters such as avocado cucumber soup with gin gelee ($8), seared octopus with grilled fennel ($9), and potato chip gnocchi with champagne grapes and pine nuts ($10). Main courses include lamb shank with quinoa salad and eggplant ($22), skirt steak with heirloom tomato panzanella ($18), and the market veg plate of the chef's daily selections ($20). Don't miss out on chef Daryl Nash's famous mac with truffle, bacon, and white cheddar ($8) or the speckled grits with brussel sprouts ($7). Otom's desserts will make you feel as if you were a kid with a million dollar check and a fake ID: caramel corn with sorbet served on a chocolate doily ($9) and avocado cheesecake with macerated strawberries ($9) tickle your taste memories while simultaneously stimulating previously untickled flavor-sensors.
The libations at Otom are as brilliant as the food. Delectable liquids include lychee martini (cane rum, Soho lychee liquor, lychee syrup, and sour; $11), Scarlett O'Hara (St. Germaine, lychee, raspberry puree, grapefruit, and Gruet; $10), and a Jack Fizz (Flor de Cana, calamansi juice, ginger ale, and jackfruit puree; $7).
- His BLT likewise skips the typical crispy bacon, watery lettuce and flimsy tomato in favor of luscious magnificent tender braised pork belly, bright neon romaine puree, and heirloom tomato jam. – Michael Nagrant, Centerstage
And Time Out loves Otom's down-to-earth take on molecular gastronomy:
- While there’s still a bit of frothing, foaming and dehydrating going on, the majority of the dishes deftly dress up classics-mac and cheese gets double-smoked bacon and truffled white cheddar, braised short-rib meat is stuffed into ravioli and coupled with candied sweet potato, and its banana split is somewhat deconstructed, isolating the flavors to remind you just what makes up a classic in the first place. – Time Out
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