Temporis turns 2 this January. With executive chef Donald Young now helming the kitchen and founding chef and proprietor Sam Plotnick focused on the business side, the tiny Michelin-star restaurant at 933 N. Ashland looks to the new year with plans to further push convention and the concept of seasonality.
Through an ever-evolving 10-course tasting menu paired with wines that bridge the gap between courses as the meal progresses.
2018 in review
In September, Temporis earned its first star in the upcoming Michelin Guide Chicago 2019, making Young, at 29, one of the nation’s youngest chefs with a Michelin star.
It was undoubtedly the highlight of the year for the 20-seat restaurant and for Young and Plotnick, both relative unknowns in Chicago’s restaurant world who worked together at Les Nomades. Within 11 hours of the Michelin announcement, they had booked 495 reservations.
In November, Temporis was nominated for a 2019 Jean Banchet Award for Best Service. The winners will be announced in January.
In the fall, the duo also welcomed fellow Les Nomades alumnus Don Coen as beverage director and sommelier. Coen has been involved with Temporis from the beginning as consulting beverage director, overseeing the beverage program while still full-time at Les Nomades. (He made his official exit from the Streeterville restaurant in November.) At Temporis, Coen offers wine pairings that showcase a flexibility and personality atypical of fine dining—larger pours of five wines, each paired to two courses as well as to the transition between them—in addition to his broader beverage program highlighting Old World wines and classic cocktails.
Plotnick, 30, opened Temporis on Jan. 5, 2017, after five years as a line cook at Les Nomades. The concept came out of his desire to present his own style of food in the most intimate way, which he explored in a series of pop-up dinners, starting in 2015. Young helped with the pop-ups while still chef de cuisine at Les Nomades, joining full-time a few months after Temporis opened.
Ahead in 2019
In Latin, temporis means the passage of time. The year ahead will see the restaurant question the idea of seasonality through development of a hydroponic garden in the basement built by Young and Plotnick.
Young has a deep interest in fermentation, preservation, pushing the traditions of classical French cuisine—and discovering what he likes to call “happy accidents.” He distills this into a plated 10-course tasting menu that leaves room to play.
One of his newest dishes, a seared scallop mille-feuille, exemplifies this. Layered with cranberry-pickled pineapple, black walnuts and red kuri squash, the dish is topped with candied pumpkin seeds, crispy Brussels sprouts and crispy chicken skin. Finished with a tableside pour of Young’s take on XO sauce—he enriches newly fermented soy sauce with duck and scallops—the dish hints at Thanksgiving, then takes a few nontraditional turns.
“There is no repertoire here. We’re constantly seeking and finding different ways of doing things, whether it’s how we approach a sauce, a technique or an entire dish,” he says.
In 2019, Young and Plotnick will double the size of the hydroponic garden, allowing for more experimentation with microgreens and other produce they’re growing, or want to. The garden is a key part of their hyperlocal, sustainable approach, and those greens play an integral part of the dining experience. They’re placed in recesses built into the custom dining tables and, ultimately, served to guests.
Guests can look forward to more interactive elements incorporated into the experience that will further utilize the produce grown in-house, the custom-designed tables and serving vessels.