Monday, June 4, 2012

Sunday Dinner at Next: Sicily

Four days ago my friend Jake texted me: "Hey. Want to go to NEXT Sicily on Sunday? I have a table for 4." I was in the middle of studying for final exams, which will close out my first year of business school. Exams that run from Monday through Wednesday of this week. As in, tomorrow morning. "Sure!" I texted back. "Why not?" This, my friends, is the life of a B-School student at its best.

It was just over a year ago when I went to Next for the first time, for the exquisite Paris 1906. Since then, Dave Beran and his team have taken diners to Thailand, Childhood, and elBulli. But from those explorations of the whimsical, Sicily takes it back home to the warm, hearty food and wine the namesake island-dwelling Italians have enjoyed for centuries. It was Sunday dinner at the table of our collective Sicilian mother, or in this case, father. Good thing we dressed up and combed our hair.

Below are my pictures and some commentary. Here's the official promotional video. Enjoy!

The plateware.
(We wondered if Next sold its plateware after every menu finishes - our waiter commented however that they simply keep it in storage, or sometimes source to Alinea. Sounds like a missed opportunity to me... I would totally shop the Next used plateware catalog. Once I have a full time job again, of course.)
 Hand written note from the team.
Caponata (cooked vegetable salad, base of eggplant)
 Arancine (fried rice balls coated with breadcrumbs, with lamb center)
 Panelle (chickpea fritters)
  Carciofi Alle Barace (grilled artichokes) - One of my favorites! The smokiness stays on your hands.
Bucatini con Bottarga (handmade pasta with cured roe in a butter sauce)
Gemelli con le Sarde
Pesce Spada con di Ceci (swordfish with garlic and mint, on mint pesto)
Side of more chickpeas two ways and delicious broccoli-type vegetable
Spalla di Maiale Brasato (6+ hours roasted and braised pork shoulder with ragu)
Vegetables with fried zucchini flower (side to pork shoulder)
Granita di Arance Rosse (blood orange granita - excellent and delightfully sweet palate cleanser)
Cassata (traditional cake)
Canolli, Ravioli Fritti, Cubatta di Giugiulena

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