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Chicago Area

Heat: A Review--Lengthy


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Restaurants & Bars

Heat: A Review--Lengthy

Erik M. | Aug 21, 2001 03:45 PM

Last Monday, my girlfriend suprised me with a birthday dinner at Heat.
Jeez. I thought that Mirai was good...

Upon being seated, our waiter briefed us on the menu. The omakase (chef's choice) selections for the day included Grilled Venison and Negi-Mirugai(Stir-fried Giant Clam with scallion). The Kaiseki menu included 4 wine selections to accompany 11 courses. [Any Kaiseki course may be ordered a la carte, and are priced accordingly.] The "Live" menu included 4 fish selections, one shellfish selection, and one mollusk selection. The fish selections for the day--Tautog (Wrasse),Bokke(Oyster Toad Fish),Suzuki(Florida Black Sea Bass, and Fugu(Florida Blowfish)--were priced by the pound, starting at $48.
The remainder of the menu consisted of Sashimi, Nigiri, and Makimono.
We decided to cobble together an a la carte munu that we could share. [This meant passing on the "live" fish selections, as my girlfriend is a bit shy.(g)]
Separately, we were presented with a wine/sake list. The sakes were grouped by style, and further identified by prefecture. Not willing to be so adventurous on my girlfriend's budget, I selected a Junmai sake. [A style that I was familiar with.] We ordered a bottle of Kaguyahime from Kyoto prefecture. The bottle was presented cold, and managed to make a couple of transformations as it warmed to room temp. A great choice.
Sashimi: Iwashi(Japanese Sardine). Sardine fillets wrapped around Japanese carrots and shiso leaves, presented in a shallow pool of ponzu sauce. Fantastic.
Salad: Yari Ika(Japanese Squid). Grilled, slivered and tossed with red onion and red pepper berries in a wasabi dressing. Excellent, although I would like to have tried the squid undressed. [This was an option, if ordered as Sashimi.]
"Live": Tairagai(Japanese Fan Shell). This was not originally on the "Live" menu. [Its usually served as a "Very Fresh" Sashimi selection.] However, the chef was disappointed in the quality of one of that day's original Shellfish/Mollusk items...Mirugai(Geoduck from Seattle). This was probably my favourite selection. The Fan Shell was reminiscent of a very large scallop. Flash-grilled to tighten the flesh ever so slightly, then sliced with-the-grain and served with a kumquat (for squeezing) and Uni paste.
Tempura: Ise Ebi served with Sqiud Ink rice. A generously-sized portion, perfectly breaded, and served on top of a small cylinder of risotto-like rice. Not my favourite, by a long shot, but very good, nonetheless.
Makimono: Zuke Sake Roll. A marinated Salmon-topped rice/laver roll, wrapped around white asparagus tempura, and served with miso mustard. Excellent, however, I preferred to eat the Salmon and the roll separately, as the Salmon was lost in the combination.
At this point, our waiter, Erik, asked if we'd like dessert. [My girlfriend had spilled the beans about my birthday, so they were ready to prepare a special dessert, gratis.]
Dessert: A fruit plate of beautifully sliced and arranged mango, banana, orange, kiwi, and apple slices, topped with Lychee ice cream and red bean sauce. A wonderful conclusion to the meal. I was also presented with a birthday card from the staff. If it were any old b'day card, it wouldn't be worth mentioning, but this one had a pop-up sushi tray and it played music. LOL!!
After settling the bill, I asked Erik if we could have a copy of the menu. Within minutes, I was presented with a envelope that contained a printed copy of our menu for the evening, including our sake selection. [He seemed curious about my request, so I shared with him the fact that I'd probably be writing this up for Chowhound.] I'd highly recommend Erik, as a waiter.
Lastly, the room and table service were lovely. Unlike Mirai, which seemed to date itself the moment it opened, this room has legs.
The most memorable meal I've had in a long, long time.

Erik M.

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