She’s the experimental cuisine disciple of Chicago’s underground restaurant movement. Iliana Regan (Trio, Alinea, Schwa) operates her underground supper club, One Sister, from her home in Andersonville. But there’s nothing Sunday-night supper-like about her sensory-stimulating (chicken thighs, liver and truffle ragu with hay sage aroma) plates and thoughtfully themed courses. Regan works overtime—seasonally foraging mushrooms and growing greens like the arugula she uses to make “arugula sponge.” It’s an element of one of her “salad sponges,” her interpretation of a salad course. The sponges are a vehicle for decorative salad elements. They are topped with dollops of homemade goat milk sorbet, sunflower sorbet and tiny, methodically arranged leaves from her Swiss chard, sunflower and pea-shoot plants. Regan pairs music with courses when appropriate: To the tunes of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” she riffs on the mock turtle soup referred to in the “Alice in Wonderland” story—serving pecan ice cream between two maitake mushroom cookies and chamomile pâte de fruit. On the plate, she has penned “eat me” using porcini mushroom caramel. This dessert is served while guests sip maitake mushroom tea from vintage tea cups. The tea is poured over a gelatin capsule Regan has loaded with chamomile and cocoa nibs. The capsule dissolves in the hot tea, casting flavors from within throughout the tea cup. “The cocoa, pecan and caramel flavors in the course are elements of the mock turtle soup in ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ It has been everybody’s favorite for a really long time,” Regan says.
One Sister Inc.
Best of Chicago 2011