Before Charlie Trotter’s famed namesake restaurant came to an end in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood last year, I was lucky enough to taste his 10 course set menu with wine pairings. His wonderful selections came from France, Italy, Napa Valley and even Austria. Besides the eventful burst of flavor in every bite, the two things that convinced me of his pallet driven creative genius consisted of his innovative plating, and the beautifully lush herb garden tended onsite. This understated quadruple wooden box set, minimally adorned with cold sea based starters done 4-ways, takes the dish to a fun and memorable level; one that I continue to come back to when recounting best dishes I’ve ever had to friends and family. A tour at the end (thanks to a former colleague of mine) led to discovering Trotter’s very en vogue, sustainable green garden out back. Here the staff seasonally grew and sourced a good amount of their produce for the restaurant. This confirmed my suspicions. Charlie Trotter genuinely knew how to incorporate that ‘ooh la la’ factor into his kitchen endeavors. Sad to say that his place is gone, but will not soon be forgotten. Long live le Chef Trotter!