Wouldn’t you love to be in the mind of Chef Grant Achatz? I want to know what great dish he is pondering at that moment, but you can bet it is probably something that no one else has thought of yet. Or it could be he is planning another idea for his latest forthcoming restaurant in Chicago called “Next.” The restaurant, due to open soon, is going to be a time-traveling experience where diners will be transported to every era of fine dining. Every 12 weeks, the restaurant will be transformed into a different time and place. For the first offering, the dining room and food will take you to 1906 France. It is to be followed by Thai street food in June. Other possible ideas in the works include Prohibition-Era Chicago, New York circa “Mad Men,” a re-creation of “The French Laundry” in Napa where the chef once worked, and even Hong Kong 2036!
The menu of 1906 Paris is based on the recipes of French chef Auguste Escoffier. The “Next” team poured over dozens of books and discovered that few photographs existed of what dishes looked like or how they were plated. The meal for Paris will be 6 courses, although one lucky table of six will be offered 14 courses, spanning over 4 hours. One of the dishes will be “Caneton Rouennais a la Presse,” described by Escoffier as a roast duckling served with a reduction of brandy, red wine, and duck juice which is extracted from a nickel-plated press. The antique duck press was purchased from a restaurant in Maine for several thousand dollars. The duck will be cooked sous vide in an immersion circulator, before theatrically carving it tableside.
Another dish will be “Oeufs Benedictine,” an egg dish presented in antique silver holders:
I can’t even imagine what an incredible experience it will be to be a part of any of the eras of dining. How fortunate that I live near Chicago and will do my best to be one of the lucky ones to secure a place. Maybe my husband should think about this for my “next” birthday? (Bill – are you reading this??!)