Brain Food | Grant Achatz
Your waiter will appear bearing a small steel contraption. Wires radiate up and out, like the skeleton of an upside-down umbrella. Snuggled into those spokes will be a small bunch of grapes, but the grapes are gone—all but two, which still cling to their denuded branch, partly visible through a lacy, paper-thin wrapping of toast. It won't look like food, exactly, but you're in a restaurant and this seems to be your first course and you're hungry, so you will pick up the whole weird mess by the stem, dangle it over your mouth, Roman emperor-style, and bite. The outside will be crisp; inside will be something juicy. A grape, of course. But there will be something else, something sticky and totally, utterly familiar. You've known this taste since before you could tie your own shoes. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich! And you will wonder: Just what kind of restaurant is this, anyway?
It's called Alinea, and when it opens in Chicago this month, I predict that it will quickly prove itself one of America's most unusual, provocative, challenging and entertaining restaurants. Also, I'll bet, one of its best.