I know, by blog standards, I’m late to the game with this, but the Chicago Tribune story about Chef Cantu cooking up some raccoon at Moto just has to be shared with as many people as possible. Now, even being a vegetarian, I like a good meat joke. I share photos of edible meat cabins with my coworkers. I try to figure out ways to turn beer-battered, mozzarella-stuffed bacon burgers into a vegetarian meal. Hell, one of the centerpieces of my solo art show in 2000 was about “beef so good even cows like it.”
I tell you all these things, because when I first saw the presentation of the meat, and then watched “something” fall from Monica Eng’s fork, I actually went “Oh, that’s not right.” Reading the article didn’t help much.
Next, they slow braised his lean flesh in olive oil, butter, shallots, onions, garlic, rosemary, bay leaves, red wine and raccoon stock (made from his bones).
Once they pulled the meat off the bones they embarked on an inspired — some might say depraved — plating.
Okay, well, that’s not so bad. But the description in the video is far worse, discussing splitting poor Rascal open by the legs to find the best meat. The rest of the plating plays with the idea of roadkill, which makes each plated dish one of a kind!
In a facetious effort to depict a scene of roadkill…they pooled and splattered beet puree across the plate. They painted curry-tinted lane lines and even printed skid marks and a raccoon face on edible paper.
I’m always on the fence with Moto. Sometimes they’re ideas seem fun (doughnut soup, Strawberry Cheesecake Chicago Dog), and sometimes their crazy molecular ideas seem to be covering up for food that may not taste great (see above). I’m constantly entertained when I see video, or read about their new ideas; but I couldn’t see paying 165 dollars for a 20 course meal, where you know not all those dishes are going to taste great.
Of course, being a vegetarian I won’t be experience Moto anytime soon anyhoot. Of course, if Chef Cantu is reading, and wants to prepare a 20 course vegetarian meal for me to try, I’ll be there with 200 bucks and a completely open mind.
(Raccoon Roadkill Tribune photo by Alex Garcia / January 18, 2008)
(No, I wasn’t kidding about my art. I’m a sick, sick man.)