Alinea – Chicago

by Suha on June 13, 2010

Currently the # 1 restaurant in the US and # 7 in the world  – Alinea was an experience beyond ones imagination. Having read so much about it and having managed to get a booking a few months in advance, we dedicated an entire evening in Chicago to Chef Grant Achatz. Six hours of dining took us through the 25 course degustation menu of the night. Grant is currently the American culinary star! He started  working with Charlie Trotter and then spent a lot of time with his mentor Thomas Keller at the French Laundry. He also did a short stint at El Bulli learning all about molecular gastronomy. Grant opened Alinea when he was just 26 years of age. It has been amazing to read of how we was diagnosed with tongue cancer soon after opening alinea and after chemotherapy and radiation and losing all sense of taste for a short time  – he has continued to refine his amazing cuisine. With his new sense of taste – he mixes unique flavours and entertains his customers with dishes beyond your imagination. His final chocolate dish is pure entertainment. He comes to your table and makes the dessert ON your table. Yes – they lay a rubber mat and Grant makes the dessert on it. The photos try to tell the story!!!

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English Pea: Green peas freeze dried with iberico ham, sherry and honeydew

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Lobster: Vanilla bean with lobster and lychee, gruyere, vanilla fragrance

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Yuba: shrimp, miso, togarashi

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Chao Tom: sugar cane, shrimp, mint

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Distillation: clear thai soup with amazing thai flavours

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Pork belly: a make your own rice paper roll with pork belly and a number of ingredients including curry, cucumber and lime

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King crab: crab mousse with rhubarb, lilac and fennel

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Take of the top bowl and below is a warmer seafood array

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and one more layer below is a hot dish of crab and fish.

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Octopus: red wine, lavender and fava bean

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Lamb: reflections of elysian fields farm. Lamb on a rosemary stick.

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Hot potato cold potato: black truffle and butter. Beautiful.

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Malt: english toffee, bourbon country stout, blueberry – in themiddle glass

Bacon: butterscotch, apple, thyme – swine on a swing!!!

Nutella – bread, banana, chocolate in the spoon

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Foie Gras: orange, camomile, fennel pollen

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Surf Clam: like a deconstructed clam chowder – celery, tabasco, oyster cracker

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Oxalis pod: whipped sorrel, honey, salt

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Salad: ranch dressing and fresh veges

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Soup powered.

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Sardine: horseradish, arugila flower, tomato. Cant use your hands…just eat it.

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Squab: charred strawberries, lettuce all on a birch log

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Black truffle: explosion, romaine, parmesan. This was beautiful. Raviolo full of liquid truffle. Yum.

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Tournado a la persane

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Lemon soda: a one bite that melts on your tongue

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Transparency: of respberry and yogurt

Bubble gun: long pepper, hibiscus, crème fraiche – suck from one end

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Earl grey: lemon, pine nut, caramelized white chocolate. Very nice indeed.

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Chocolate: coconut, menthol, hyssop

This is where Grant comes to the table and starts to make the dessert!!!!

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Coconut sauce, mint sauce, warm chocolate fondant, freese dried chocolate mousse, chocolate powder….

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The menu of the night. Larger circles are larger dishes, circles to the right are sweeter dishes and left are savoury.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Forager June 14, 2010 at 10:03 AM

I’ve been waiting to see the photos to accompany the amazing sounding dishes that the Co-pilot read out to me. It sounds like an amazing experience and I think you know how jealous I am!

Jane June 15, 2010 at 10:30 AM

Wow – I am so impressed just reading this. I’ve immediately picked out those dishes that I would love to try. I see your partner in crime in the background looks totally dazed by the experience!

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