We’ve never seen anything like it! Inventive. Innovative. Artistic. Imaginative. Thought provoking. Futuristic. Inspired. All words used to describe Homaro Cantu’s moto, an internationally recognized leader in the world of molecular gastronomy. A term with many interpretations, at moto molecular gastronomy is the application of both scientific and artistic principles in cuisine. Equal parts chef and inventor, Cantu challenges culinary convention and diners, stretching the boundaries of the former and taking the latter on a post-modern, interactive and fantastical gastronomical ride.
A “molecular tasting room,” dining at moto is like taking part in an ongoing multi-sensory science experiment. Cantu’s post-modern cuisine applies science to cuisine artistically, utilizing high-tech equipment such as Class IV lasers and liquid nitrogen with eclectic ingredients from around the world. The moto kitchen serves as a laboratory and a canvas for Cantu and his team, an incubation center for ideas that are revolutionizing the culinary landscape – ideas that focus on all things food-related, including menu items, packaging, tools, delivery and more. As Cantu says “to create is not to copy” and this philosophy of “food engineering” drives the moto team.
Incredibly well-rounded, the team focuses on the totality of each guest’s dining experience. Parallel to the intricately woven layers of taste, texture, and imagination in every bite of food is the detailed choreographed process of food preparation and presentation at moto. Each staff member pays attention to all elements of the total guest experience because each staff member has experience with every aspect of food preparation and presentation: at moto, every chef is a waiter and every waiter is a chef, as each employee rotates periodically from kitchen prep to tableside service, providing for a highly-knowledgeable staff.
Offering dinner service only, moto offers tasting menus – edible, by the way – and has been lauded by critics around the globe. Having been showcased in over 1000 articles appearing in nearly 40 countries, moto has struck a nerve with the thrill-seeking diner. While the foods are futuristic, they are not completely alien and though they may appear as if they are right out of a science-fiction movie, the fabulous flavor of this cuisine is very real. The dishes tend to be reinventions or outright transformations, including several American staples such as BBQ Pork with Cornbread and Baked Bean Spaghetti; Ben’s S’more, an inside-out version of the childhood favorite from Pastry Chef Ben Roche; and Chili-Cheese Nachos, a dish which looks like the savory appetizer but is actually a sweet dessert with crumbled chocolate serving as “chili” and flash-frozen strips of mango playing the part of grated cheese. Sommelier and Wine Director Matt Gundlach is on hand to offer wine pairings to complement the exquisite and extraordinary flavors. Simply put, moto is fine dining at its most adventuresome.
Tucked among the loading docks and 19th-century warehouses of Fulton Market – Chicago’s lively meatpacking district – are an enterprising new breed of chic boutiques, avant-garde art galleries, and trendy restaurants. In the midst of this energetic cultural emergence are the innovative sibling restaurants moto and otom, the latest ventures of leading Chicago restaurateur Joseph De Vito and his business partner Homaro Cantu. Featuring menus showcasing interactive postmodern cuisine at moto and the culinary mirror image of comfort food at otom, these sister restaurants each provide unforgettable dining experiences and are at the forefront of transforming Fulton Market into this city’s nouveau premier dining destination.
Since opening moto, Cantu has captivated adventurous diners and media alike with his imaginative interpretation of postmodern cuisine. Using science, technology and art in nouveau ways, the moto team continues to astound and astonish with novel, interactive dining experiences, redefining the boundaries of established culinary traditions of taste, texture and technique.
At moto, expect the unexpected.