While Ashland is not known as much of a dining destination, a new eatery is set to join high-concept compatriots Schwa and Ruxbin in the fall. Temporis (933 N. Ashland Ave., no phone yet) has taken residence in the former Moku Sushi Bar space. After months of cloak-and-dagger development, the compact 20-seat space plans to start taking reservations in late September for its eight- to 10-course tasting menu available with wine pairings and à la carte cocktails.
Evan Fullerton (most recently of 1913 Restaurant & Wine Bar in Roselle) and Sam Plotnick (Les Nomades) are the chefs behind the mysterious new venture. They met years ago at Les Nomades where, once upon a time, Fullerton was Plotnick’s boss. Temporis was conceived during a series of pop-up dinners Plotnick put on last year. When the Moku space became available, he brought in his former protégé as a co-chef and partner.
“We both like to focus on balancing flavors and textures,” says Plotnick, “and exploring our favorite ingredients in-season. It’s a more transformative ‘Contemporary American’ style that you see a lot in Chicago.”
It’s a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, but “Contemporary American” means something very specific to these two. “It’s about breaking from the traditional pairings of ingredients, and being extremely local,” says Fullerton. “We have a bunch of heritages. We want to let go of a single heritage and blend them all with an open mind.”
That translates to dishes like the rabbit three ways, which will feature on Temporis’s opening menu: tandoori-spiced rabbit loin, a tiny roasted rack of rabbit, and braised rabbit leg with carrot purée, rattlesnake beans, and mustard greens.
If that sounds too good to wait for, good news: There are a few tickets still available ($90 a pop) for a preview pop-up at Local Foods on August 28. “This one’s less of an underground dinner,” says Plotnick. “I’m not cooking out of my apartment anymore.”
In addition to the rabbit, expect highlights like king crab with fennel, parsnip, and smoked trout roe, and hamachi dished up with yuzu and hazelnuts atop a delicate cookie. The chefs can’t say whether these dishes will appear at Temporis’s brick-and-mortar location, but the intimate atmosphere will assuredly be back.
Says Plotnick: “We want to recreate what we’ve done with the pop-ups in the smallest, most personal way possible.”