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[CHI] Alinea – Grant Achatz – Reviews & Discussion (Part 2)


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a question for those who have been to Alinea on the pacing of the Tour:

I have an 8:45 reservation, rejecting a 5:30, .... but I'm really hoping not to be there for 4-6 hours. Can I assume that they accelerate things for solo diners? or should I switch to the 5:30?

also, I'm surmising that the standard wine pairing is probably the best way to go under my circumstances....

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a question for those who have been to Alinea on the pacing of the Tour:

I have an 8:45 reservation, rejecting a 5:30, .... but I'm really hoping not to be there for 4-6 hours.  Can I assume that they accelerate things for solo diners?  or should I switch to the 5:30?

also, I'm surmising that the standard wine pairing is probably the best way to go under my circumstances....

I've heard reports that the full tour can be done in under four hours (but probably not by much). You can do the standard wine pairing and just ask them to upgrade one or two of the selections if they seem appealing. I've never been disappointed with any of the wine pairings...their "standards" are high.

My advice is to go for the early seating... the heavier dishes won't appear until more of a "normal" dinner hour and you'll be finishing up dessert around 9:00-9:30.

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I was thinking that...but I have two concerns...one petty, one not so.

the petty one being that I'm a NY'er, eating dinner at 5:30 is a completely foreign concept....

the more substantive one being that it seems obvious that a 5:30 table is a table that they plan on turning...and I'm concerned that I could end up not being able to the Tour...which would be extremely disappointing...

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I was thinking that...but I have two concerns...one petty, one not so.

the petty one being that I'm a NY'er, eating dinner at 5:30 is a completely foreign concept....

the more substantive one being that it seems obvious that a 5:30 table is a table that they plan on turning...and I'm concerned that I could end up not being able to the Tour...which would be extremely disappointing...

I'd advise just stating up front what your concerns are. If the Tour is not available with the earlier seating, they'll let you know. I think someone from Alinea posted just a bit upthread that the Tour was currently averaging 3:40:00. If that's truly the case, I'd bet that a solo diner would come in under the average and the later seating would probably work out for you.

As for the wines, definitely do the pairings. I wouldn't worry about not upgrading if the additional cost makes it prohibitive. You'll be well-taken care of regardless, as the wines are truly chosen to accompany both individual dishes and smaller series of dishes as well.

I'm going back again next week and I am also very excited.

Enjoy!

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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High praise from Anthony Bourdain about Chef G in a review of The Nasty Bits by Dara Moskowitz, which appears in the June 28 edition of City Pages:

"Now, take the science-class food in Chicago. That's something I'm really hopeful about in America. Not all of those guys are going to make it, but I bet five years from now Grant Achatz, once he totally finds his groove, is going to be the greatest chef in America. I don't want to eat in that restaurant every week, but five years from now he is going to be a chef with an international reputation serving the best that this country has to offer, which is huge."

Really? Grant Achatz, at Alinea, in Chicago? Why?

"He's got huge balls, and a tremendous background with Thomas Keller, and then the Ferran Adria thing, but he's also uniquely focused on his own world view, and he's got a staff that will do anything for him. If I find some of his food silly or too conceptual that's okay, that's a heroic thing. He knows how to cook and he knows what's good and he's moving things forward so I admire him tremendously."

Nasty, Brutish, Shortish

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I will -never- again joke about being concerned about going hungry afterwards before actually dining at Alinea. Chef Achatz made me his bitch last night -- Ronnie and I were punished for my insolence and could barely walk out of the restaurant last night after five hours of nonstop eating and drinking and get this -- 31 courses. The longest tasting menu ever served at the restaurant. They could barely fit to print it on a 8.5" x 11" page.

Details to follow. When I recover in the next few weeks. What a mind blowing meal.

Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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...after five hours of nonstop eating and drinking and get this -- 31 courses.

:shock::angry::laugh:

Damn it. I wish I could have been there. Wines? Full summer menu?

A few familiar dishes, a few summer menu previews, one very special blast from the past (can you say mozzarella ballon? I knew that you could) along with yet another fantastic wine progression.

Jason could barely handle it. I don't think he quite knew what to expect and, as such, had a few cocktails next door before our meal. That, as anyone who has been to Alinea knows, was not a wise move. He was most definitely chefg's beeyatch last night. Not to entirely sell him out but there was a point where he had to say "no mas" to his wine progression. To his credit, he did re-engage when we later got to the dessert wines.

I, on the other hand, used my experience to gracefully chomp, slurp and inhale my way through the 31 glorious courses which were sent our way last night and only a very small portion of the Tour ended up on my shirt. :biggrin:

It was most definitely one of my most notable and memorable Alinea experiences. Having just been there a few weeks ago, it was great to see the how the dishes had evolved; some just slightly and some in very substantial ways.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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A few familiar dishes, a few summer menu previews, one very special blast from the past (can you say mozzarella ballon? I knew that you could) along with yet another fantastic wine progression.
Oh man. Was it exactly the same as it was from the olden days.
Jason could barely handle it. I don't think he quite knew what to expect and, as such, had a few cocktails next door before our meal. That, as anyone who has been to Alinea knows, was not a wise move. He was most definitely chefg's beeyatch last night. Not to entirely sell him out but there was a point where he had to say "no mas" to his wine progression. To his credit, he did re-engage when we later got to the dessert wines.

I, on the other hand, used my experience to gracefully chomp, slurp and inhale my way through the 31 glorious courses which were sent our way last night and only a very small portion of the Tour ended up on my shirt. :biggrin:

Rookie mistake. 5 hours for 31 courses - you guys were flying. Mr. Perlow, you have got to throttle it down to the yellow truffle pace to survive that barrage (I think that's why the kitchen does not get me over the normal count of courses).

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Rookie mistake. 5 hours for 31 courses - you guys were flying. Mr. Perlow, you have got to throttle it down to the yellow truffle pace to survive that barrage (I think that's why the kitchen does not get me over the normal count of courses).

Flying? We started at 7:45 and didn't get out of there until 1:30AM. We were the last people left!

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Rookie mistake. 5 hours for 31 courses - you guys were flying. Mr. Perlow, you have got to throttle it down to the yellow truffle pace to survive that barrage (I think that's why the kitchen does not get me over the normal count of courses).

Flying? We started at 7:45 and didn't get out of there until 1:30AM. We were the last people left!

With yellow truffle in tow, it usually takes a bit longer than that and there are fewer courses too. :wink:

Actually, I thought that was a fairly brisk pace last night. There was one moment, maybe about 10:15 pm, when we were asked how the pacing was because there were still about 20 courses ahead. At that point, we decided it would be a good thing to speed it up a bit and our preference was activated. In the end, when there are 31 courses being served, it can only go so fast.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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For folks too eager to wait, I've temporarily put up the PDF version of the menu on a remote download site:

Download Ronnie & Jason's Alinea Tour PDF

EDIT: Here's a screen grab, if your eyes are sharp enough:

gallery_2_4_34914.jpg

Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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For folks too eager to wait, I've temporarily put up the PDF version of the menu on a remote download site:

Download Ronnie & Jason's Alinea Tour PDF

I'm on my way out the door to Costco for holiday supplies and figured I'd grab a dog there for lunch. Having looked at this menu, I'm not sure that's going to cut the mustard now :raz:

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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No way anyone was going hungry with that menu! Nice wine pairings too (as usual). I particularly think the pairing of the pineau with the corn would have been exceptional.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I am looking forward to the details. All of them.

Doc, Ronnie and I recorded a podcast commenting on every single dish we ate and what our reactions to them were, followed by a wrap up with ChefG. Its going to take me a while to put together because its going to be a serious editing job, but the results should be well worth it.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Excellent photos, Jason! I am looking forward to seeing them again here with commentary as well as the podcast.

No wonder you were so full though with all that bread too. :wink::raz::laugh:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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hmmm...I wrote a post and it doesn't seem to have posted...trying again:

I noted that I could hardly wait a month after seeing that menu and reading those posts.

looks like I need to go to Gilt in the next week or so...to have something to compare Alinea to.

looks like the wine pairings are a must.

even though I eat (and drink) exceedingly quickly...maybe I should switch to the 5:30 if I plan on hitting the bars by midnight...

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