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Alinea

November 30th, 2007 · No Comments

Alinea Restaurant Alinea Restaurant Alinea Restaurant Alinea Restaurant Alinea Restaurant Alinea Restaurant Alinea Restaurant Alinea Restaurant Alinea Restaurant Alinea Restaurant Alinea Restaurant Alinea Restaurant Alinea Restaurant Alinea Restaurant Alinea Restaurant Alinea Restaurant Alinea Restaurant Alinea Restaurant Alinea Restaurant Alinea Restaurant Alinea Restaurant Alinea Restaurant Alinea Restaurant T: Continuing ‘eat week’ in Chicago, this was a very fine dinner.

D had somehow tracked this place down as being one of the best restaurants in Chicago (if not in the US) and so as much as we’ve already had some great food this week, we decided to check it out. Apparently the chef has trained at both Thomas Keller’s French Laundry and Ferran Adria’s El Bulli, so we knew to expect complex food (from the former) that focused on intense flavors, textures, and smells.

While we did eat at Moto on Wednesday night, and while the bills were about the same, to compare the two would be to compare apples and oranges. Moto was definitely about molecular gastronomy – interesting powders, cool uses of liquid nitrogen, ‘reformatted foods’, bits of humour and bits of performance with an incredibly intense selection of wines. If Moto was great food by young people on the cutting edge in a trendy setting, Alinea was a temple of food – comfortable, neutral, beautiful surroundings that just helped you to focus on the food. The staff were all deferential and mature; while some dishes were fun, unlike at Moto, I wouldn’t use the word ‘whimsical’ to describe any of them.

We did the Tour menu – a 22 course tasting menu. It was such a singular experience that I’ll have to let the pictures do the talking for the food.

That being said, it was a truly great meal. Heck, it was more of an experience than a meal because Alinea used all of our senses. The dining room is extremely subdued – you’re there to focus on the food. The noise is low, the lights are low. You are there to taste, feel, smell, and see your food – that’s why it’s an experience. Every dish brings different sensations in the mouth, different flavours, smells, and is presented beautifully.

Thankfully, Mr. Achatz is doing better and is back in the kitchen. This is one experience that you don’t want to miss. It’s a singular experience in North America, on par with a meal at Per Se or the French Laundry. I don’t think it has any other equals on the continent than those two, and to match them you’d likely have to go to the Fat Duck or El Bulli. Can I praise Alinea any more than that?

Alinea
1723 North Halsted Street
Chicago Illinois 60614
www.alinea-restaurant.com


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Tags: Chicago · Favorites · Michelin starred · Special Occasion

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