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Eater reports on a controversy involving critic John Mariani and Alinea restaurant.

 

The restaurant's owner claims Mariani took an expensive, custom made wine list. Mariani denies it, and delivers a "rant" against the restaurant, per Eater. The owner responds, in part:

 

I am certain, however, that he wrote all over our wine list and took it out of the restaurant (it wasn't hefty as he infers) with him as I personally watched it happen. He only dined there that one time.

 

"His comments are so over the top, inaccurate, and ad hominem that the entire thing is pretty see-through.

 

 

The Wine Book

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anyone know what their ressy policy is?

 

 

I think it's 2 months out.

 

 

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anyone know what their ressy policy is?

 

 

I think it's 2 months out.

Yup. They open the books on the first of the month for the entirety of the second month to come. So July 1 all of September will be available.

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"We are now in the threshold," he declared. He assured that progressive cuisine isn't dead or ending, but that it's time to move beyond "evoking emotions simply through the dish."

 

Nick Kokonas, Achatz's business partner, hinted at these developments to Eater over the summer. "The temptation is to do nothing, though. It's successful, it's full every night, it has three Michelin stars, etc.," said Kokonas of the team's Lincoln Park flagship. "But whenever you fall into complacency, it gets kind of boring."

 

Achatz confirmed that the changes will come into place "sooner rather than later... the cellists have already been in a couple of times."

 

 

Changes are underfoot

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It seems like child's play:

 

He presented several ways that may materialize at the restaurant: a cellist or musician might come out and play a note or a full piece ("Can music become an ingredient?") and perhaps diners will do a portion of the tasting menu in one space, before moving to another environment that is completely different in its configuration, design elements, lighting, even aroma. Asked Achatz, "What if it were like the set of a play?"

 

Achatz gave as an example the night Eleven Madison Park chef Daniel Humm came into the restaurant. For the occasion, the Alinea team completely covered the party's table with leaves; they hid pumpkins within the pile. Once Humm and his guests arrived, they had to brush off the table to discover canapés inside what at first seemed like decorative fall squash. As the meal got underway, the Alinea team decided to leave the mess on the floor of the dining room: "You expect a three-star Michelin restaurant to be pristine. But now, there are no rules."

Eater

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For the occasion, the Alinea team completely covered the party's table with leaves; they hid pumpkins within the pile. Once Humm and his guests arrived, they had to brush off the table to discover canapés inside what at first seemed like decorative fall squash.

What a timely idea. I plan to strew my Thanksgiving table with leaves tomorrow and will bury the stuffing and mashed potatoes underneath. Imagine the surprise that will give my guests. As the meal progresses small live turkeys will be released from under the table to remind them of Thanksgiving's origin. I will distribute Nerf rifles so my guests can hunt the birds in the apartment.

 

At this late date I couldn't find cellists to join the meal to play random notes. I am engaging kazooists.

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For the occasion, the Alinea team completely covered the party's table with leaves; they hid pumpkins within the pile. Once Humm and his guests arrived, they had to brush off the table to discover canapés inside what at first seemed like decorative fall squash.

What a timely idea. I plan to strew my Thanksgiving table with leaves tomorrow and will bury the stuffing and mashed potatoes underneath. Imagine the surprise that will give my guests. As the meal progresses small live turkeys will be released from under the table to remind them of Thanksgiving's origin. I will distribute Nerf rifles so my guest can hunt the birds in the apartment.

 

At this late date I couldn't find cellists to join the meal to play random notes. I am engaging kazooists.

And to top it all, tell them it's not for eating: it's the set for a play.

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I wonder if Achatz has been to Ninja. A whole new world of possibilities awaits.

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The question is whether they intend to hire theater talent paralleling Achatz's culinary greatness.

 

I thought the theatrics during our one meal there were already pretty blunt, but I guess people used to watching Bway shows and Hollywood product need them to really obvious.

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Maybe they can get the Spiderman actors who've already broken their ribs to do something off Achatz's mini-trapezes that are only one inch high.

 

This stuff is getting to the point of ridiculousness.

 

I want a meal, I want to sit in peace.

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Then you'd better remember to feed the monkey under the table every five minutes, otherwise there will be no peace, only biting and screaming.

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I just checked my calendar and am shocked it's not April 1st.

 

 

Though if a roving cellist passes by, I fully intend to pull a Zero Mostel and pour a bottle of plonk down the cellist's trousers.

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