I got a chance to go to Next Restaurant, Grant Achatz’s new Big Thing. He is the genius chef behind Alinea, which I am proud to say is in Chicago. Alinea has made a ton of top ten lists across the nation, and I have yet to go myself (it’s expensive!).
Next is an interesting concept in that 1) every three months, they switch the entire menu based off a theme, and 2) you buy tickets to this place, which people have likened to going to a concert. Tickets are by a lottery only, and they are very difficult to come by. My cousin happened to have two extra tickets and let me have them at cost, which, surprisingly, wasn’t too bad ($175 for two people). I don’t know if there are other prices, my guess is yes.
Tip is included in the price, and a wine pairing or non-alcoholic beverage is an upgrade you can do at the table if you don’t buy it right off the bat.
I have reservations about going to really expensive restaurants — when all is said and done, and you’ve paid $500 for two people, is it really worth it? That $500 can pay for food for an entire month, or that DSLR camera I want, but can’t afford. You could also buy $500 worth of marbles and see what happens when you throw them on a dance floor. Or a lot of fun times from that lady on the streetcorner in those amazing high heels who always asks you if you want to party, who may or may not actually be a man.
The theme of our meal was Paris, 1906, the golden age of French cuisine. I bet French people then were fatasses, because damn, butter and cream was probably in every course we had. Please excuse any blurriness — these are cell phone pictures, and also…I had a lot of wine.
Everything was great about the restaurant – the servers joked a little, they weren’t terribly serious, and were pretty loose for one of these fancy places. If you Google Next Restaurant, you’ll find a lot of photos and reviews of the place. The door girl was cute and knowledgeable, and each waiter had something good to say about the food and the experience.
Now the question: Was it worth it?
My answer is a resounding yes, but again, with reservations. My modus operandi is to cook at home most of the time, but when you do go out, save up for the occasion and have fun. That being said, you can also have just as much fun for $7 as long as you’re in the right mood and have the right company with you. Unfortunately for you, I was in the last few days of the Paris 1906 tasting so you’re out of luck there, but Bangkok 2060 is what appears to be next (though I *thought* I heard it was going to be 2032, not that it matters too much).
If you’re lucky enough to get tickets, you should go. Send me pictures and let me know what you think, bitches!
Full Menu, with Wine Pairing:
Hors d’Oeuvres Vincent Carré Brut Champagne
Potage à la Tortue Claire
Domaine de Montbourgeau ‘L’Etoile Vin Jaune’ Jura 2003
Filet de Sole Daumont
Meursault Goutte d’Or 1er Cru Coche-Bizouard 2005
Suprêmes de Poussin
Domaine Leon Barral ‘Jadis’ Faugères 2006
Caneton Rouennais à la Presse
Gratin de Pommes de Terre à la Dauphinoise
Domaine Brusset ‘Les Hauts De Montmirail’ Gigondas 2005
Graham’s 10 year Tawny Port