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estufarian

In The Dining Room

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As introduction, we dined at Trio last summer - we just prefer multi-course meals; weren't cognisant of the philosophy (before we went). But, of course, it was a wonderful voyage. If we had known more we would certainly have ordered the accompanying wines, but were nervous about the pairings and structure (my review at the time accknowleged our error).

Having followed this discussion we now know much more about how and why the sequence of dishes was determined and why it was so satisfying.

BUT - my major concern (both at the time and now) was the 'Rosemary Vapor'. It works spectacularly with that dish, but I also had to deal with it on a half dozen other occasions when surrounding diners had this same dish later in the evening (we were the earliest diners). It interfered with these dishes so I'm sure I didn't get the intended experience.

I wish I could suggest a solution (at the time I felt that the addition of the hot water was 'overkill' as the aromas were quite dominant even before the water was poured).

Other than private booths, any possible solutions or implications for this (and any 'aroma-based' dishes)?

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estafarian:

To say that we are unaware of the potential crossover of aroma with the rosemary would be lying on our part. When the dish was concieved we made the decision to run it as you had it, after many different options had been explored. We played with the linen hood as you would if eating an ortolan, picking the rosemary spring up and smelling it before every bite, misting the air around the diners with a rosemary scented solution, and even making a natural rosemary scented votive to be placed on the table when the course was present. The problem is this: In order to produce a continuous aroma we needed to carry the scent in a strong fashion, ie: with heat. To use a hot plate only went so far, as the plate would cool to the point it would not aromatize the rosemary before the diner finished the dish. Same problem with mists. Conversely the candle and vapor techniques have the potential to be obtrusive to other tables not enjoying that course.

We have since removed the dish and replaced it with a scallop dish with the technique applied to orange rind vapor. It is much more subtle than the volitile rosemary and less intrusive.

The aromas that Trio uses is also preventive from diners mixing the 4 and 8 course menus within a table. If a four top were to order two and two, 2 would experince orange rind vapor with their bass course and later 2 would inhale the smoked paprika fragrance with the not intended rootbeer of short ribs.

We certainly recieved more enthusiastic commentary regarding that dish then negative. But it is a valid point that we have given much thought.


--

Grant Achatz

Chef/Owner

Alinea

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I really appreciate your response.

I feel sorry for the diners who will now miss a spectacular dish. But it did interfere with the experience and I agree totally with your practical 'solution'.

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