• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

  • product-image-quickten.png.a40203b506711f7664fc62024e54a584.pngDid you know that these all-volunteer forums are operated by the 501(c)3 not-for-profit Society for Culinary Arts & Letters? This holiday season, consider a tax-deductible Quick Ten Bucks to support the eG Forums and help us remain completely advertising-free. Thanks to all those who have donated so far!

chefseanbrock

[CHI] Alinea – Grant Achatz – Reviews & Discussion (Part 1)

439 posts in this topic

Moderator Note: For an in-depth look at Alinea's pre-opening development, please visit The Alinea Project forum.

======

We were the first table sat at Alinea on opening day......words can't describe what It's like to eat at this restaurant

Alinea will change the way people look at restaurants forever.......I can't even imagine what this restaurant's future will hold, it is almost scary to think about

A completely flawless meal on opening night with a 28 course format, very few people can pull that off..... it will be a very long time before a restaurant of this caliber surfaces anywhere in the world.......

an amazing experience to say the least....alinea has raised the bar to unreachable heights!!!!!!

the kitchen is amazing and the new plates and serviceware are really cool as well

congratulations to chefg and the team at Alinea....I can't thank the entire staff enough for the mindbending experience and I am looking forward to my next meal (if I can get a reservation)

I have pictures of every course and will post them soon>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

seaninnashville

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

~heck.

those are some damn strong (and equally honest) words. i can't even imagine how you must've felt throughout your dining experience. i can't wait to read more about people's reactions and feelings. and it will all lead up to my may 24th reservation when i will find out just how amazing this restaurant is going to be. i just got goosebumps.

.trevor williams~

-Kendall College-


eGullet Ethics Signatory

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We were the first table sat at Alinea on opening day.
Do tell how people were in your party and where were you sat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since there is so much to talk about, I need to make multiples postings (environment, menu and courses).

THE ENVIRONMENT

The last time Chef Grant Achatz worked in a kitchen of a restaurant was July 31, 2004. This became the last night at Trio for chefg as well as what may be his last kitchen table. Nine months later, he's back to present some of his latest ideas at Alinea (in case you missed it, you can follow the progression at The Alinea Project forum). Opening night was Wednesday, May 4th, and 50 (or so) lucky souls were able to experience his fare. I was in a party of three.

gallery_15603_1194_8638.jpg

Upon getting to the restaurant, only an address mounted onto the exterior facade tells you where you are. There is no signage, except for the removable free-standing valet parking sign. No hours of operation, no deliveries at back, no we accept Visa/MasterCard. As you open the full height doors, you find yourself within the entry vestibule. At this point, there is no signs or anyone telling you what to do. You must move through the space until you get to the opposite side where a couple of solid opaque sliding doors (reminiscent of Star Trek) open as you trigger the motion sensor.

gallery_15603_1194_21431.jpg

Moving through the doors, the space opens up to reveal the grand staircase (ultra modern) and a greeter is there to assist with your reservation (we were set for 6:15). Right now you are standing along the main axial circulation space. To your left is one of the three dining rooms (the other two are located upstairs) and to the right is the maitre d's station, restroom and the entrance to an open kitchen. Even though there are benches for waiting, the open kitchen design invites the guests to take a closer look, sort of like a light at the end of the tunnel. The kitchen is a cool white room (probably fluorescent lighting, or highly reflective surfaces, or everyone wearing white) and the dining spaces a warm white (incandescent lighting, or all the staff wearing dark attire). While sanding there we were able to view the controlled chaos occurring within and had the opportunity to chat it up with chefg.

gallery_15603_1194_18951.jpg

We would be seated in the lower dining room at a 4-top located next to the staircase. The tables are exposed dark wood veneer accompanied by a light colored chair with armrests. I must say these chairs are comfortable. Comfortable enough to spend 7 1/2 (seven and a half) hours on it. Upon sitting down, the napkin with the Alinea mark embroidered, is on the dark table. The traditional white on white elements is gone from this presentation and is a welcome site. I think the dark table will act as a wonderful platform for the white porcelain dishes and what ever light colored items find their way onto the table.

gallery_15603_1194_5853.jpg

Underneath the napkin is a metal disk that will be used for a course later on in the evening. This leaving of items on the table to be admired is found again with the table center piece. A few longitudinally cut pieces of ginger held together with shinny metal dowels adorns us. This too will be used in a later dish, although we want to play with the it. It just begs to be touched, and of course we take our turns examining it as if we never seen ginger before.

gallery_15603_1194_6698.jpg

Observing the room you can see the amount of ambient light supplied by the windows at the other side, where bench style seats line the wall. The artificial light is provided with ceiling mounted spot lights and a lamp on the credenza. During our 7.5 hour experience, it was difficult to notice night fall because of the led fixtures, located along the window wall, produced sufficient room light to make the space seem evenly lit. The installation of the Audio Spotlight did not make it into the first night of Alinea.

gallery_15603_1194_13502.jpg

gallery_15603_1194_6312.jpg

Next up, THE MENU.


Edited by yellow truffle (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

THE MENU

Scott, our server for the evening, and for everyone else at this dining room, is an alum of Trio. As to is a female server whose name I do not know, who was the head of the wait staff at chefg's last night at Trio. There are probably more people that have migrated to Alinea that are working different parts of the restaurant. I wonder if anyone knows the actual number.

Alinea offers its guest a three option, prix fixe menu, called, "One, Two and Tour." The One has 12 (twelve) courses, the Two has 8 (eight) courses and the Tour has 28 (twenty-eight) courses. They are priced at $110, $75 and $175 respectably. I don't know why the menu is not in sequential order, but I have a few guesses.

They also have a few "aperitif suggestions selected with PB&J in mind." This is the first course for all of prix fixe items. You have the ability to choose specific wines from their young, yet diverse offerings or you can take the wine pairing option with your meal. The Tour menu, brings out 28 glasses, for $125. The sommelier, Joe Catterson, and those involved in the food/wine pairing did a fantastic job. Perhaps I can post what we had when I am emailed the list (bump).

After diner beverages are coffee, tea and digestifs. The digestifs all sound wonderful and I probably would enjoy most of it, but after seven and a half hours and the clock telling us that it is 1:30 in the morning on a Thursday, I want to go home.

Evian water is poured into our glasses and I welcome the servers not asking if wanted a specific type/brand of water. For those who need constant shots of caffeine, the restaurant can provide, when asked a progression of iced teas, as both my guests had about four glasses of iced tea through out the evening.

I am sure we can discuss Alinea's beverage options for 7+ hours, but I think it's time to talk food. Following are the items for the Tour.

1. PB+J grape, peanut, bread

2. SOUR CREAM smoked salmon, sorrel, star anise

3. DUNGENESS CRAB raw parsnip, young coconut, cashews

4. HEART OF PALM in five sections

5. ASPARAGUS caramelized dairy, egg, bonito

6. TURBOT shellfish, waterchestnuts, hyacinth vapor

7. EGGPLANT cobia, crystaline florettes, radish pods

8. FRIED BREAD chocolate, adjukura, oregano

9. FROG LEGS spring lettuces, paprika, morels

10. BEEF flavors of A-1

11. HAZELNUT PUREE capsule of savory granola, curry

12. PROSCIUTTO passionfruit, zuta levana

13. FINGER LIMES olive oil, dissolving eucalyptus

14. MELON gelled rose water, horseradish

15. ENGLISH PEAS frozen lemon, yogurt, shiso

16. FOIE GRAS rhubarb, sweet onion, walnut

17. BURNT ORANGE avocado, picholine olives

18. BROCCOLI STEM grapefruit, wild steelhead roe

19. SNAPPER yuba, heavily toasted sesame, cucumber

20. LAMB NECK sunflower seeds, kola nu, porcinis

21. ARTICHOKE fonds d'artichauts cussy #3970

22. BISON beets, blueberries, smoking cinnamon

23. BACON butterscotch, apple, thyme

24. PINEAPPLE angelica branch, iranian pistachios

25. SASSAFRAS CREAM encapsulated in mandarin ice

26. STRAWBERRIES argan, lemon verbenna

27. LIQUID CHOCOLATE milk, black licorice, banana

28. SPONGE CAKE tonka bean, vanilla fragrance

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

THE MENU

gallery_15603_1194_13123.jpg

The menu is a single sided, nine page, 6" x 11" book, bound with a folded metal clasp. The sheets come in various thicknesses and translucency. The printing looks to be done in house, except for the white opaque ink. And then, their are the bubbles.

gallery_15603_1194_2002.jpg

A translucent sheet divider is located in between the list of items. This sheet has bubbles that looks like it has been watermarked onto the paper. These bubbles correspond to the items on the menu. We hoped the bubbles was something more than a visual graphic. And we were right. We were told that the size of the bubble is relative to the weight of the dish.

gallery_15603_1194_34436.jpg

So going back to why the menu is not in sequential order... It looks as if option One and Two will satiate a diner in fewer dishes and in different flavor experiences. The question that still remains unanswered is the position of the bubbles relative to the edge of the paper. Anyone have a guess?

gallery_15603_1194_3519.jpg

Note: The Tour has all the items from the One and the Two, except that the Two has one item the Tour does not offer. The 6th course for option Two is, "CHEDDAR mustard seed in three forms." Perhaps someone can chime in and talk about this.

Next up, THE COURSES.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

THE COURSES

Following are posts with image only. I will discuss each item in later posts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2. SOUR CREAM smoked salmon, sorrel, star anise

gallery_15603_1194_32886.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

3. DUNGENESS CRAB raw parsnip, young coconut, cashews

gallery_15603_1194_3585.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

5. ASPARAGUS caramelized dairy, egg, bonito

gallery_15603_1194_16260.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

6. TURBOT shellfish, waterchestnuts, hyacinth vapor

gallery_15603_1194_9691.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

7. EGGPLANT cobia, crystaline florettes, radish pods

gallery_15603_1194_8647.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

8. FRIED BREAD chocolate, adjukura, oregano

gallery_15603_1194_7675.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

9. FROG LEGS spring lettuces, paprika, morels

gallery_15603_1194_22745.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

11. HAZELNUT PUREE capsule of savory granola, curry

gallery_15603_1194_8767.jpg

gallery_15603_1194_4929.jpg

gallery_15603_1194_23495.jpg


Edited by yellow truffle (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

13. FINGER LIMES olive oil, dissolving eucalyptus

gallery_15603_1194_4110.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

15. ENGLISH PEAS frozen lemon, yogurt, shiso

gallery_15603_1194_3055.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

16. FOIE GRAS rhubarb, sweet onion, walnut

gallery_15603_1194_2931.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

17. BURNT ORANGE avocado, picholine olives

gallery_15603_1194_50892.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

18. BROCCOLI STEM grapefruit, wild steelhead roe

gallery_15603_1194_12123.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Similar Content

    • By May10April
      I know there was a thread on this a few years ago, however it seems these scales are no longer made or newer better models are available.
      As I've become more serious about my baking, I've decided to get a kitchen scale. I'm debating between the My Weigh KD-8000 http://www.amazon.com/My-Weigh-Digital-Weighing-Scale/dp/B001NE0FU2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1297958394&sr=8-1 or the EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Scale. http://www.amazon.com/EatSmart-Precision-Digital-Kitchen-Scale/dp/B001N0D7GA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1297958443&sr=1-1 Originally I wanted the Taylor Salter High Capacity Scale because it looked cool, but I've noticed it received many mixed reviews. http://www.amazon.com/Taylor-Salter-Aquatronics-Capacity-Kitchen/dp/B004BIOMGU/ref=sr_1_24?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1297958465&sr=1-24
      Here are my requirments:
      -Minimum capacity of 11 lbs
      -Minimum resolution of 1 g
      -Measure in Kg, lb, oz, g
      -Tare feature
      -Preferably have seamless buttons
      I want to get a nice scale. I don't want to get a scale with minimum features only to find in two years that I do enough baking/cooking that requires me to have something more sophisticated.
      Here are a few other questions:
      1. How important is it to have a scale measure fluid ounces?
      2. What about measuring lbs. oz (for example 6 lbs and 4.2 ounces)
      3. Is it important to have a scale measure in bakers %? I'd like to learn how to do these and have a cookbook that shows them next to the measurements. I'm not sure if this is something most people can figure out on their own or it would be handy to have them on a scale. The MW KD-8000 does this.
      The only problem with the MW-KD-8000 is it appears to be big and bulky and I don't have a lot of counter space so I'd probably keep it stored most of the time. The Eat Smart just seems to minimal. The Salter seems like an expensive scale for what it offers and somewhat of a risk.
      Thanks for any help in helping me choose the right scale. I do not know why this is becoming a chore to purchase! I just want to make sure I choose the right one right off the bat.
    • By bhsimon
      Recently cooked whole bone-in lamb shoulder sous vide for 8 hours @ 80°C. The results were like a typical braise. More interestingly, I weighed the different components after cooking for future reference. Here is the breakdown:
       
      Before cooking:
      2.1 kg lamb shoulder – whole, bone-in, untrimmed
       
      After cooking:
      621 g liquid
      435 g bones and fat
      1044 g meat
       
      Almost precisely half of the total weight was meat. Hopefully this will be helpful if you are trying to calculate portions.
       
      As an aside to this: we've been cooking our tough cuts (sous vide) whole, without any trimming at all, and removing fat and bones after cooking. It is so much easier and faster than trimming everything beforehand. The excess fat comes off in large pieces and connective tissue peels away cleanly. Lamb shanks, for instance, are tedious to trim before cooking but easily cleaned up after they come out of the bag. It's luxurious to have big, clean pieces of shank meat although some may prefer on-the-bone presentation. We have tried this with pork shoulder, too, and the unwanted fat is easily removed after cooking with lovely hunks of tender meat remaining for slicing, dicing or shredding.
    • By Franzisaurus_Rex
      FOOD BRETHREN!
      I need some advice. I have one last piece of pork belly confit in the fridge. I brined these bad boys for about 5 days (brine included pink curing salt), vacuum sealed the squares of pork belly with lard and sous vide them at 158 F for 16 hours. I cooked this on 11/10/16 and its been in my refrigerator since. 
      Here is the general recipe I followed, with some modifications based on my taste: https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/...
      The last piece is still vacuum sealed and submerged (mostly) in lard. Any visible pork only has contact with the bag. 
      It's staring at me. And calling my name.
      I want to deep fry this sucker and have a little date night with the handsome devil I see in the mirror every morning, but the last thing I want is spoiled food. I can't find any conclusive information about how long pork confit lasts for. I've only seen references that duck confit or in general that the confit technique will last for months in the fridge. I have found no sources which directly addresses pork confit.
      Questions/Factors I'm Considering:
      - Does pork confit keep for as long as duck confit?
      - Does vacuum sealing have any effect on the length of preservation?
      - Does sous-vide cooking method affect the length of preservation?
      I know I am probably being a bit paranoid, but I thought I would do my due diligence before taking the plunge, so to speak. Any advice on these questions would be extremely helpful and appreciated!
      The Franzisaurus-Rex
      PS - you should totally make this if you are into sous vide, confit, food, or have any respect for the enjoyment of life. Flash-searing these things after cooking was OUT OF THIS WORLD.
    • By FrogPrincesse
      Host's note: this delicious topic is continued from What Are You Cooking Sous Vide Today? (Part 2)
       
       
      Duck breast, 57C for 90 min, pre and post sous-vide sear.
       

       
       

       

       
       
      So the texture was not significantly different from what I get with my usual technique, which is grilling over charcoal. But it's more uniformly pink, and there are no slightly overdone spots. I am pleased with the results even though searing in the house means a ton of smoke and duck fat everywhere!   (I did it on the stove in a cast iron skillet, next time I will place the skillet in the oven)
    • By TdeV
      Is it possible to put a rub on a sous vide item?
       
      I'm cooking pig wings here and I'm trying to figure how to finish them. This looks good but would require a rub.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.