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Better demons prevail – no Alinea for NYC

I continue to be impressed by Grant Achatz. After flirting the idea of opening an Alinea branch in New York he decided to focus on Chicago and did it for all the right reasons.

Alinea is one of the few restaurants where reach does not exceed the grasp. The food is highly conceptual, but it works, in a way that Cubism works for Picasso, but fails in lesser hands. It’s hard to replicate what Achatz does at Alinea without losing something in the process. No matter how faithful the franchise, eventually the Xerox effect takes over – the food might even still be good, but the whole never quite transcends the sum of its parts.

New York brings acclaim and limelight that only a world megacity can bring, but that’s not where food is at it’s best. When I think of the most progressive outposts of cuisine today it’s Chicago that comes to mind, not NYC. Alinea belongs in Chicago and judging by the success of the restaurant, Chicago deserves to have it all to itself.

Beef shortrib confit, dehydrated Guinness sheet, broccoli puree,
spiced peanut pudding, pink peppercorn, micro-cilantro

March 27, 2008   No Comments