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WATCH: Is it a Lab or a Restaurant? With its Crazy Dishes, Chicago's Moto is Actually Both

September 17, 2015

Moto Restaurant in Chicago is not the place to go if you’re looking for the ordinary. The restaurant, which specializes in molecular gastronomy, prepares its food in a lab, not a kitchen, complete with centrifuges and laboratory equipment. Moto even has an indoor garden on-site, which it uses for 90 percent of its greens. (Want to try growing some of your own herbs and vegetables? Try these easy home garden ideas.)

molecular gastronomy moto restaurant chicago
molecular gastronomy moto restaurant chicago

Moto chef Richie Farina (Photo: Melanie Dunea)

Chef Richie Farina says he loves playing around with food and creating things that might not even look like food. I sampled a creation of his that is meant to resemble a fallen log in the woods. With mushroom “dirt” and piles of fresh vegetables and seasonal mushrooms on top, the dish was delicious. Leek ash gave it an earthy, meaty flavor, while a garnish of flowers made it oh-so-pretty.

fallen log dish moto food chicago
fallen log dish moto food chicago

The Fallen Log dish at Moto in Chicago (Photo: Melanie Dunea)

I also tasted the buffalo tartare topped with greens that are cut fresh at your table. There are s’mores for desert, complete with your own tabletop fire to roast it yourself.

What: Moto Restaurant

Where: 945 W. Fulton Market

chicago moto lab restaurant
chicago moto lab restaurant

Cooking equipment on display in Moto’s food lab (Photo: Melanie Dunea)

Why Go: For delicious food that looks as interesting as it tastes.

Fun Fact: Menus rotate regularly; the restaurant has even served a pork sandwich that looked like a Cuban cigar, complete with an ash tray. 

For More: Looking for other unexpected treats? Check out my visit to Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York for a taste of “frozen s’mores” and milk served in a chocolate chip cookie shot glass.

Photo Tripping is a Yahoo Travel original series hosted by renowned celebrity photographer Melanie Dunea (author of My Last Supper). Melanie takes us on a photographic journey with her as she visits America’s top cities to experience the best tastes, sounds, and sights the city has to offer.

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