Tuesday, January 3, 2012

NEXT's Paris 1906: The Borrowed Review

So, I did end up going to Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas's instant classic NEXT last spring, per my previous post. However, I never got around to writing it up... and now, I can't for the life of me find the pictures I took. However, there are some very good photographers who took much better pictures than I ever could have, and some very smart food critics who agreed with me that the meal was a complete triumph. I loved every minute of it and so did my lucky boyfriend who got to be my date.

Here's an amazing slideshow from The Ulterior Epicure, who got to sit at the kitchen-side table.

Here's Phil Vettel's glowing Chicago Tribune review. I love how he frames the concept as repertory theater:

I'm going to guess that Next will never repeat this first menu, which is scheduled to run another 10 weeks; the 7,000 or so diners who manage to experience "Paris 1906" will have bragging rights for a lifetime, akin to theater patrons who saw "Bleacher Bums" at the Organic or Gary Sinise and John Malkovich's "True West" at Steppenwolf.
Indeed, what Achatz and company have done is reframe the dining experience as a form of repertory theater. The performers remain the same, but every three months there's a new script. And where better to stage such a coup than Chicago, where repertory is the very backbone of its theater identity?
The highlights of our meal included:
  • The fantastic, perfectly timed, enthusiastic service, which reflected the same smart, down-to-earth approach at Alinea
  • Catching a glimpse of Grant Achatz through the window as I passed by the interior door to Aviary (which wasn't open yet)
  • The duck, which my boyfriend politely gnawed to the bone
  • The diamond-shaped poached chicken in the fourth course (Supremes de Poussin) - strangely enough, that's the one that stuck with me the most for quite some time after
Enjoy the pictures and review!

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