Monday, June 11, 2007
does anyone know a single hedge fund manager?
this weekend i had the opportunity to go to two of the country's best restaurants in 48 hours because of a friend in town from nyc on a culinary mission. friday night - alinea, which you might know from such facts as its the best restaurant in america according to gourmet magazine and the chef grant achatz is a 31 year old mastermind of micro-gastronomy. saturday night - moto, which you might have heard of because they have a class 4 military laser in the kitchen and cook everything in liquid nitrogen. i will lightly touch on moto but the short and long of it is this... alinea is earth shattering. moto... eh. it doesnt even hold a candle to the type of experience you get at alinea on many levels.. food, service, atmosphere. sitting at dinner friday i was thinking about something my dear friend ms. ultimate said to me one night... she said 'im going to start dating the type of guys my parents sent me to private school to meet.' now i didnt go to private school but upon tasting the good life friday night i have learned the wisdom of her ways. so if anyone has a corporate lawyer tucked away for safe keeping... hook a sister up.
but on to alinea. the exterior is a non-descript townhouse on halsted near steppenwolf. looks like somebody's rich aunt's house. but when you walk into the entry hall and the stainless sliding doors pop open you know its something different. for the record, i was wearing a pink satin roberto cavalli skirt, black alexandra neel stilletos, and brought the black fendi. adam was wearing a pale blue jacket and black pants and shirt with a bright blue and purple tie, all ted baker.
you are greeted by a host and on your left is one small dining area, lushly carpeted and comfortable, in front of you is a beautiful structural glass stair to the second floor dining space, and down the hall on your right is a view to the kitchen, all white and stainless and sparkling, where an endless flurry of chefs dance around one another. we sat up stairs in a small dining room on the front of the building. we had an army of people to serve us and literally never for a second were things out of order. it was precision like ive never imagined in dining. we did the grand tour, 25 courses, and chose to get the wine pairings that the chef recommended. with the first champagne based cocktail we got a small croquette made of steelhead roe. i slid it into my mouth from the small white ceramic pedestal it was served on and instantly lost my train of thought. it was perfection. and every course thereafter was better than the last with very few exceptions.
its impossible to outline them all but some highlights... there was a chilled shot glass filled with celery gellee and a small frozen marble sized shell made of horseradish and filled with an apple water that you took all at once. it was sweet, clean and just a tiny hint spicy at the end when the shell dissolved in your mouth. theres a picture here at top left. there was a dish with 7 small bites of rhubarb in different forms, including a dime sized rhubarb ice cream sandwich. there was a duck dish that was served in a bowl placed on top of a pillow filled with a cool lavender scented air that surrounded you as you leaned over to take a taste. there was a small envelope, maybe the size of my thumbnail, made of a sheet of clear pineapple based gel, filled with bacon powder. the chef even defied the local regulations and sent us a smalll cinnamon pastry, hollowed out and filled with foie gras, then sealed with apple pate de fruit.
i wont go on and on because there are no words. grant aschatz is a motherf&$*ing genius. literally.
there is a lot of theater in the food at alinea but it all is part of how the food tastes and how the flavors combine in your mouth. unfortunately moto was a lot of theater in a disney sense. it was a lot of gymnastics for no reason it seemed. most of the courses were uninspired, or inspired by the fact that the kitchen wanted to play with liquid nitrogen and not inspired by taste. the service was marginal and the atmosphere was blah. the music was terrible and it was literally the worst restaurant bathroom ive ever been in. id rather use the restroom at popeyes. a few courses were good but overall for 330$ id rather eat at piece every day for six months. or go to kuma's and eat 33 mastadons.
so in summation, if you can save some money go to alinea. you must go at some point before you die or you will not, in fact, go to heaven. this is a scientific fact and not debatable in any way. the price tag is steep but its worth every penny to witness achatz in action. its like spending money to see micheal jordan play basketball or mike tyson bite someone. the full menu changes every 12 weeks amazingly. hit me up next year and well go again. big time.
miss casual signing off.