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[CHI] Alinea – Grant Achatz – Reviews & Discussion (Part 3)


Lenski
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I would actually suggest, however, that the downstairs feels a little bit disconnected from the "rest" of the restaurant.

There are also kind of like three rooms upstairs. One to the right, one immediately to the left, and one further to the left. I probably like the one to the right the most. The middle is nice and bright but feels like a hallway. The far one is more private but is darker and in the same room as the entrance to the restrooms and kitchen support area (i.e. plates, glasses, chairs, etc)

Edited by BryanZ (log)
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I wanted to personally report that I have been very recently diagnosed with an advanced stage of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the mouth. I have consulted several prominent physicians and will likely begin aggressive treatment within the next few weeks. I remain, and will remain, actively and optimistically engaged in operations at Alinea to the largest extent possible. Alinea will continue to perform at the level people have come to expect from us -- I insist on that. I have received amazing support from friends, family, and everyone who has thus far been told of the disease, and I look forward to a full, cancer-free, recovery.

[Moderator's Note: If you would like to share your wishes for Chef Achatz's quick return to health, you can do so by clicking on this link, which will take you to a Member News topic devoted to the subject. -- CA]

Edited by chrisamirault (log)

--

Grant Achatz

Chef/Owner

Alinea

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I would actually suggest, however, that the downstairs feels a little bit disconnected from the "rest" of the restaurant.

True, but maybe for the same reasons, it felt a little more intimate, to me.

There are also kind of like three rooms upstairs.  One to the right, one immediately to the left, and one further to the left.  I probably like the one to the right the most.  The middle is nice and bright but feels like a hallway.  The far one is more private but is darker and in the same room as the entrance to the restrooms and kitchen support area (i.e. plates, glasses, chairs, etc)

Yes, BryanZ describes the layout more appropriately. His "right" was my "front." His "far left" was my "back." There was also a "middle" room, which I also felt was like a hallway.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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  • 2 weeks later...

unless it changed recently the menu price includes food only; the standard wine pairing was approximately 2/3 the cost of the menu price

Sandy Levine
The Oakland Art Novelty Company

sandy@TheOaklandFerndale.com www.TheOaklandFerndale.com

www.facebook.com/ArtNoveltyCompany twitter: @theoakland

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I've got reservations next Wednesday at 9:15pm. It seems a bit late to be doing the Tour but I'm not in Chicago often enough to not do it. Really looking forward to it.

There is a chance I might need a couple of more people to fill a four top if anyone is interested.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Hey just thought I would post an update about Chef Achatz.....

http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com/the...z-is-in-th.html

I am happy to see he is doing better and in the kitchen! I am going to Alinea in one week for a stage and hope he is there........and kicking ass!

Great news that he is dealing with the chemo so well. I am still very much hoping that even with the radiation that is coming that he will feel well enough to attend the Starchefs International Chefs Congress in NYC next month. He remains on the scheedule, but ultimately it will depend on how he is feeling.

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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Hey just thought I would post an update about Chef Achatz.....

http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com/the...z-is-in-th.html

I am happy to see he is doing better and in the kitchen! I am going to Alinea in one week for a stage and hope he is there........and kicking ass!

Great news that he is dealing with the chemo so well. I am still very much hoping that even with the radiation that is coming that he will feel well enough to attend the Starchefs International Chefs Congress in NYC next month. He remains on the scheedule, but ultimately it will depend on how he is feeling.

Doc,

I'm sure you'll be pleased to read this additional update about chefg, which was posted by Michael Ruhlman at his web site:

News for Grant Achatz Fans and Friends

I was able to have breakfast with Grant Achatz on Saturday and was delighted to see him looking strong and fit.  You’d scarcely know he was battling anything at all, let alone going through chemo to treat squamous carcinoma of the mouth.  He was at ease, confident and determined. As he always is.  And he ate one of Nookie’s enormous omelets.  Best news of all: doctors say treatment is exceeding expectations.

=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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  • 2 weeks later...

I'll give you my standard answer to this question. If you don't envision yourself going back to Alinea for awhile (if at all), then get the Tour. If you think you'll be back, go for the shorter menu.

Personally, I prefer to get the shorter menu and allow the kitchen to add a few courses of their choosing.

-Josh

Now blogging at http://jesteinf.wordpress.com/

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I'll give you my standard answer to this question.  If you don't envision yourself going back to Alinea for awhile (if at all), then get the Tour.  If you think you'll be back, go for the shorter menu.

Personally, I prefer to get the shorter menu and allow the kitchen to add a few courses of their choosing.

thanks, I feel the same way the 12 course certainly will be give me a taste of the chef,the last 20 courses out of 30 I had at El Bulli were for for show not to enjoy.

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We chose the Tour when we went to Alinea at the end of July. I knew that I wasn't likely to go back, anytime soon at least, and wanted to experience as much as possible. I had to REALLY slow down about 2/3 of the way through, but my companion made it to the end. I think the wine pairing was what did me in. I don't regret doing the Tour though, it was beyond spectacular!

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Just a quick post regarding the lovely dinner (yes, the tour) I just completed at Alinea.  Besides being in a room that ended up being filled with Canadians (and a few pride and joys of Toronto sitting at the "rock star" table next to mine), having the attentive and wonderful service of Olivia and Jason (and Eric  :raz: ), I was treated to a special first edition/made for me (the person allergic to chocolate) Butternut Squash dessert (to replace the chocolate course).

Butternut squash:

Honey and brioche puree

Toasted brioche crumbs

Grapefruit pulp and gelee

Raisin verjus sorbet

Chilled brioche soup

Kudos to Chef Achatz for coming back to the Alinea kitchen after a long day and participation at the Food & Wine Expo and for being so attentive to my allergy/dessert replacement request.  Chef Achatz's creativity and effort at a moment's notice from this first experience of mine, deems him much respect in my (amateur) opinion.

I suppose I should have attached an image of the creation I mentioned:

426211362_533a782117_d.jpg

Has this dessert been developed on since my visit in November?

The rest of the images from the tour could be found here.

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I'm heading back to chicago next week and was able to snag an early 5 PM reservation on sunday. Unfortunately they told me I couldn't do the tour, which I understand, and might be better because I'm easing my girlfriend who's coming with me into this. She's had tasting menus, but not anything of this sort of stature/style of cuisine. Plus I did the tour last year with my friend, and even though I had a great time, I think if the lady is happy, then I'll be happy. I'm also really interested to what Chef Achatz is going to do because she's also a pescetarian (and she noted that on the reservation), so I hope they do a good job because we've gone to restaurants before and she told them about it ahead of time and we often get just pan seared fish and line veg that don't match flavors or lots of pasta, risotto, and polenta.

but I'm sure they'll wow her like they did with me.

I'll report back (but without pictures, sorry, I've found that it just cuts into my own enjoyment.)

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Hi everyone, just wanted to post my wonderful meal at Alinea. Everything was perfect and service was flawless. Please forgive my poor photography!

gallery_51050_5131_281021.jpg

1st Course - Surf Clam - Chilled Nasturium Soup

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2nd Course - Ayu - Sesame Pudding - Watermelon - Crispy Spine/Skin - Kombu

gallery_51050_5131_196163.jpg

3rd course - Sassafras - Apple

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4th Course - Tomato - Plum - Rosemary - Hazelnut - Harwood smoke pillow

gallery_51050_5131_154837.jpg

5th Course - Lobster - Fennel - Fennel Pollen Gel (on the pin) Floral & Orange Vapor.

gallery_51050_5131_325219.jpg

6th Course - Short Rib - Guiness - Peanut Pudding - Fried Broccoli

gallery_51050_5131_343897.jpg

7th Course - Hot Potato - Cold Potato - Black Truffle

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8th Course - Wagyu Beef (the real deal from Japan) - Matsutake Mushrooms

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9th Course - Black Truffle Explosion, lives up to its name!

gallery_51050_5131_1295565.jpg

10th Course - Lamb - Consome - Peas - Morrels - Yoghurt

gallery_51050_5131_1357816.jpg

11th Course - Raspberry Transparecy - Rosepetal chips - Powdered Yoghurt

gallery_51050_5131_1281986.jpg

12th Course - "Gift from the Chef" - Foie Gras - Cinnamon Puff - Apple Pate de Fruit

gallery_51050_5131_1101423.jpg

13th Course - Guava - Avacado & Brie Terrine - Basil Ice - Rum Sphere - Guava moose - Carbonated Guava Juice......poured table-side.

gallery_51050_5131_49857.jpg

14th Course - Licorice Cake

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15th Course - Chocolate - Soy Marshmellows - Passion fruit - Rice Pudding - Lemongrass Ice

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16th Course - Caramel - Meyer Lemon - Cinnamon Perfume

Like I, and lots of others, have said before.....Outstanding Meal.....Alinea is truly a special Place.

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Where's the rest of the courses! :biggrin:

Seriously...the short ribs was my least favorite of the courses (back in May), and I've heard other criticisms about it. I wonder if they've improved it, or if not, why its still around. How about that truffle explosion - incredible!

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Where's the rest of the courses!  :biggrin: 

Seriously...the short ribs was my least favorite of the courses (back in May), and I've heard other criticisms about it.  I wonder if they've improved it, or if not, why its still around.  How about that truffle explosion - incredible!

That is strange because the Short Ribs are really delicious! What is it that you dont like about it?

The truffle explosion was great....I accidentally squirted some out on the table, I guess I didnt close my mouth tight enough! woops!!

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Wow, you're asking me to support my claim (with 4 months of memory loss)...

As I recall, the flavors weren't pronounced, nor were they interesting. I felt like I could have been sitting in a recliner watching football...which wasn't what I wanted on that night. Quick note - its not that it wasn't good, but it didn't live up to the other courses in my opinion.

Here's what I said in my blog back then:

The young man who brought this course to the table said it contained "everything you could want" -- beer, peanuts, and short ribs. Unfortunately, the idea was better than the final product. The square is a Guinness gelée, and there was a lighter beer in the sauce (sort of a Black and Tan effect). Although the individual elements were top-quality -- the short ribs were good, the herbs were delicious, and the textures were nice -- the overall product was sort of muddied. I think this was both of our least favorite course.
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After having the most recent Art Culinaire issue sit in its box for a few weeks, I was able to take time off and read it, and to my surprise there is a piece on Chef Achatz and Alinea. Most of the stuff we all know by now, but what I haven't seen before are large studio photos (don't know if it was a staff photog or Lara Kastner's work) and recipes for five dishes.

They are:

- Hot Potato Cold Potato

- Sweet Potato Tempura with Whisky Gel and Cinnamon Fragrance

- Bacon with Butterscotch and Apple Leather

- Sour Cream with Grates Smoked Salmon and Pink Peppercorns

- Licorice Cake with Banana-Licorice Chips and Orange Confit

Although not the first time, I found it very generous for them to share recipes. I was wondering if they would share the service ware and the tools used to cook / prepare these items as well. :biggrin:

I wonder when the book is coming. :wink:

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Here's a photo from a panel at the Starchefs 2nd Annual International Chefs Congress in NYC entitled From Kitchen to Cookbook that Chef Achatz participated in. The panel was all about publishing chef inspired cookbooks. Chef Achatz and the Alinea team will be self-publishing a book that will be distributed by ten Speed Press.

gallery_8158_5171_86425.jpg

Chef Achatz is truly an amazing human being. His spirit and energy are inspiring. Though he had been originally scheduled to give a demonstration during the Congress, he canceled well in advance secondary to uncertainty as to how he might be feeling. He told me that he regretted having done so, but will be sure to present next year. I am looking forward to it.

Edited by docsconz (log)

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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