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In Chicago, Chef Grant Achatz Is Selling Tickets to His New Restaurant


KristiB50
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Using the reservation system has been quite the wild ride. The tables are being released in waves, so dates pop up in the reservation grid sporadically. Clicking on one usually takes you to a blank slate of times (table already snapped up by someone with a faster mouse.) :laugh:

This was posted on their Facebook page today:

We are going to post a video at some point of what this looks like from our end. Basically, I have unlocked about 25 tables in the past 1.5 hours... and they are 'held pending transaction' within 1 second each. Literally as fast as I hit refresh that's how fast somebody grabs them.

I managed to grab the Chef's Table in late June. So looking forward to it!

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I have unlocked about 25 tables in the past 1.5 hours... and they are 'held pending transaction' within 1 second each. Literally as fast as I hit refresh that's how fast somebody grabs them.

At that speed, I have to believe there there is not "somebody grab[ing] them", but someone employing technology to game the system. I was able to manually "hold" a table last night by clicking on it every few minutes (it gives you 10 minutes to complete the reservation and the clock resets when you click again). This gave me time to call the friend who I was booking the table for and get the information re: their preference for wine pairings, etc. without risking losing the preferred time slot. This is just one of the "quirks" of the system that I would imagine could easily be abused by a script.

Edited by KD1191 (log)

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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I have unlocked about 25 tables in the past 1.5 hours... and they are 'held pending transaction' within 1 second each. Literally as fast as I hit refresh that's how fast somebody grabs them.

At that speed, I have to believe there there is not "somebody grab[ing] them", but someone employing technology to game the system. I was able to manually "hold" a table last night by clicking on it every few minutes (it gives you 10 minutes to complete the reservation and the clock resets when you click again). This gave me time to call the friend who I was booking the table for and get the information re: their preference for wine pairings, etc. without risking losing the preferred time slot. This is just one of the "quirks" of the system that I would imagine could easily be abused by a script.

I believe they only allow 2 reservations per email account and the account had to have been originally registered, so my guess would be there should be less of this (at least if the 2 reservations per account is holding up).

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Luckily I follow Grant Achatz on twitter and signed up for ticket notification on the first day of the Next announcement last May.

I was in the first batch of people so I received my email yesterday around 2pm and was able to login and casually browse for a table with no issues.

Will be dining there on the 24th of April but I'm guessing I'm one of the few people who had absolutely no issues with their new system. It sounds like it was only hassle-free for the first few people to login because I hear it became quite hectic and error-ridden after the first hour or so.

Wish I would have booked another table yesterday for coworkers or friend since they're already sold out of the initial wave of tables.

For those still wanting to have a chance at the Paris 1906 menu, however, sounds like they will add capacity as time goes on and they also hold 1 table a night for walk-ins.

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  • 4 months later...

Excellent report (imho) in today's The New York Times by Sam Sifton

THE wild catfish in Thai caramel sauce had been devoured and the elegant metal plate holding it whisked away, a gin-clear watermelon consommé tossed back in a short fit of excitement. Coconut would follow, accompanied by Sicilian sweet wine, and dragon fruit with rosewater and a glass of rum, then small transparent bags filled with cold Thai tea sweetened with palm sugar and lightened with milk, straws emerging from their rubber-banded tops.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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In an interview in Timeout Chicago, Achatz talks about upcoming menus at Next:

Grant Achatz talks what's next for Next

Starting in mid-October they'll be doing a menu evoking memories of childhood. They're a bit fuzzy about what that might entail.

The thing with the time, when we do Childhood it’s not Grant Achatz 1982, it’s just childhood. It should resonate even with my parents, there should be something universal they can pull from just as well.

Summer of 2012 will be Sicily. They'll also be doing the French Laundry, October 28, 1996, the day that Achatz started work there. Most exciting to me is a confirmation that the el bulli retrospective is actually going to happen. He had floated that idea in previous interviews, but it looks like it will really happen.

I talked to him [Ferran Adrià] about the idea of doing El Bulli and he was excited. Our idea is to do a course a year for the duration of the restaurant, to show the evolution. He took over in 1987, so there are more than 20 years of creativity and expression there. If we can hone in on one course per year to best exemplify the way that restaurant changed things during that particular year, well, that’s going to be big, and I think it’s very important that he comes in on it so we’re going to make that happen.
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  • 4 months later...

Follow their Facebook posts for notice on when tickets become available, or try for same-day tickets via same. The alternative is to randomly check the website and hope they've made some tables available (this very thing happened to me this afternoon, but it's a rarity) or try the secondary market.

Edited by KD1191 (log)

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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Follow their Facebook posts for notice on when tickets become available, or try for same-day tickets via same. The alternative is to randomly check the website and hope they've made some tables available (this very thing happened to me this afternoon, but it's a rarity) or try the secondary market.

I was just going to post about their facebook. If I lived in Chicago I could have eaten there quite a bit, I seem to have a knack for being on facebook when they post their updates.

James.

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Right, I've got on their facebook, but looks like I have another hurdle... the credit card system!

It doesn't seem to want to accept my credit card as I don't have a valid Zip code. I don't, because obviously I'm over in the UK!

I've tried googling this but is it a problem buying from overseas? I thought it might not be worth the effort trying and just try going to Alinea but now I realised I'm planning to be there in April during the El Bulli season (a restaurant I never got to visit) I figured I HAVE to go!

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The accounting system (Quickbooks) / credit card processor I use will not process overseas credit cards without something in the zip code field. I generally put any zip code in the box and can then process the order. Not sure if this works with Next's system, but doubt you will go to jail for trying.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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I live in Canada and also encountered the zip code problem so I emailed their tickets inquiry people and they said to just enter 00000 for the zip code. They've done the same thing on their end when processing non-US credit cards and the charges do get billed through so I think that's as good a guarantee as you're going to get. Good luck!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I thought it might not be worth the effort trying and just try going to Alinea but now I realised I'm planning to be there in April during the El Bulli season (a restaurant I never got to visit) I figured I HAVE to go!

The el bulli season is going to be tough to get tickets for. They're only doing one seating, so tickets will be scarce. A majority of them will go to season ticket buyers - I assume that's not an option for you. They're holding back one reservstion per evening to auction off for charity, so if cost is no object...

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I thought it might not be worth the effort trying and just try going to Alinea but now I realised I'm planning to be there in April during the El Bulli season (a restaurant I never got to visit) I figured I HAVE to go!

The el bulli season is going to be tough to get tickets for. They're only doing one seating, so tickets will be scarce. A majority of them will go to season ticket buyers - I assume that's not an option for you. They're holding back one reservstion per evening to auction off for charity, so if cost is no object...

Yeah i've been following the updates on Facebook.

To be honest it's been terribly confusing, it looks like there will be a new booking system as well. I'll just keep my fingers crossed, hopefully I can get a table at Alinea for that weekend anyway, if not otherwise I'll be really upset :(

Advance notice, and to get in first - if anyone ends up with 2 spare Next tickets around Easter time, and you're feeling generous, let me know...!!!!!

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Don't forget to book Alinea on February 1st if you plan to visit in April. They open the book up for the entire month for April on February 1, at 10am Central time.

"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, tickets are on sale...

And i'm currently waiting in a queue. I should be able to get some in theory, but I doubt I'll be able to get any on the dates i'm currently planning to go over, so I may end up re-scheduling my trip and re-booking Alinea to fit in!

Fingers crossed, I logged in a few seconds after they opened and was #803 in the wait list out of ~950 packages. A few seconds later the line was back to 2500!

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Wow, I did it. Got tickets for the night before I go to Alinea :shock:

Can't believe it

Excellent. Don't forget to try a molecular cocktail or two at the Aviary, then you can hit the trifecta.

"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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Wow, I did it. Got tickets for the night before I go to Alinea :shock:

Can't believe it

Excellent. Don't forget to try a molecular cocktail or two at the Aviary, then you can hit the trifecta.

Will do! I expect we might end up at the Aviary a few times! Best not go too crazy on the alcohol intake though, coupled with the food I might not be able to get on the flight home :laugh:

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Nice. I would do Aviary at least once. And then ask if you can get into the Office (downstairs speakeasy) on the 2nd visit.

Try to grab a reservation in advance. I think they are taking them via email 2 weeks in advance now. Any party size, for 6pm, 8pm, or 10pm.

"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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