Tuesday, August 23, 2016


953 W Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607
Cuisine: Global-Themed (Ours was South American)
$$$$ ($50+)
Sun, 08/07/2016, 9:00pm reservation
    (4 piglets)

Next is another one of chef Grant Achatz's restaurant (yes, I did an Achatz weekend in Chicago). As a James Beard winner for Best New Restaurant in America, Next is an interesting conceptual restaurant. The restaurant takes you on a global journey, with a prix fixe menu changing every four months. Lead by Executive Chef Dave Beran, the themed eatery attempts to bring dishes that highlights the realm of cuisine of each part of the world.

Next itself is linked to Achatz's bars The Aviary and The Office. The interior is sophisticated and modern. The décor reminded me of Alinea, but with a more casual feel to it. I loved the fact that they offer a table near the kitchen, which obviously my friends and I took it upon ourselves to reserve.

COURSE ONE: MERMELADA CON HIELO: Mote Con Huesillo, Black Cardamom. Course one started outside the restaurant, where a server made a drink with some shaved ice and alcohol. It reminded me of horchata, but in shaved ice form. It was good, refreshing, light and a good way to start the meal.
A closer look at course one.

After course one, you're taken through the dining room
We were the lucky ones to dine in the kitchen with simply a glass window separating us
COURSE TWO: CEVICE: Banana and Passionfruit. I thought this was a good dish. It's not the typical ceviche I'm used to, but it had good flavors, acidic, and well-balanced.
COURSE TWO: CORN AND CHOCOLATE. I thought this dish was good. Who doesn't like corn and chocolate? Unfortunately, I felt like the chocolate and corn were too subtle for me. I really want to get a strong taste of the corn and chocolate, which lacked in this dish.
COURSE TWO: AJI, LIME AND ORANGE. This was good, and I felt the flavors were getting better as the dishes were moving on. The lime and orange was light and refreshing.
COURSE TWO: This was an extra dish that wasn't on the menu. Not sure what it was, but it was my favorite out of the ceviches thus far. It was light and refreshing with the perfect amount of balance and acidity. It was what I pictured a ceviche to taste like.
COURSE THREE: CRUDO: Lubina, Cashew, Cachaca, Tomato. I'm always a big fan of crudo! Who doesn't like a piece of fresh fish lightly cooked in some acidity? Anyway, this was a good dish. I thought so far, most of the dishes were pretty light at this point.
Some corn nuts, beer and salad. ..
I'm not sure what this was but it was hanging from the ceiling. Knowing that it's part of the Alinea group...it was meant for something later.
  COURSE FOUR: PASTEL DE CHOCLO: I forgot what exactly this was, but it was good and crispy. There was a hint of spice to it, which I enjoyed.
COURSE FOUR: TOMATES PEBRES. The tomatoes were fresh and delicious. I loved every bite and it was a gorgeous dish.

COURSE FOUR: CROQUETAS DE ATUN: This was a good dish if you like tuna. I'm not the biggest fan of cooked tuna, so it wasn't my favorite. I did enjoy the crispiness of the croquetas though.
MY FAVORITE DISH. COURSE FOUR: Chica de Manzana. This was my favorite dish of the night. It was a South American shepard's pie. The topping was almost soufflé like. I loved the richness of the dish. It was comfort food at its best.
COURSE FIVE: ALPACA WOOL. Escabeche del Pez Espada. This was a good dish. The dishes corresponded to the color of the wool. My favorite of all four was the last one of the color purple. It was a beet something or the other. It was delicious!
COURSE SIX: SUDADO: Wait for it....
COURSE SIX: SUDADO: Salmon, Cochayuyo, Esparragos, Cacao. This was a good piece of salmon. It was encased in parchment paper where the smell was alluring once you ripped it open. The broth was delicious. The salmon was cooked perfectly. It was a good dish.
COURSE SEVEN: CURANTO: Puerco, Chorizo, Fig, Chapalele, Clam and Rhubarb. This was one of the better dishes of the night and very hearty as well. There was a lot of food and it was shared family style. 
COURSE SEVEN: This was the clam salad...just ok for me. 
COURSE SEVEN: Garlic Rice. I thought the rice was good and so was the flavor, but many of my friends thought it was a bit too salty. 
Scissors and tweezers...I wonder what it is for?
COURSE EIGHT: DULCES: Guava and Picarones. This was their version of a donut. The sorbet it came with was guava. It was good and reminded me of Porto's guava and cheese roll, but without the cheese. 
Hmm...so that thing that is hanging...they're gonna cut it with those scissors and tweezers....very Alinea like...
Ah...she's placing it in the second dessert...
COURSE EIGHT: DULCES: Chocolate, Blackberry, Dulce de Leche. This was my favorite out of the two desserts. I thought the dessert was well-constructed. It wasn't overly sweet, which I appreciated. 
The work that goes into cleaning the kitchen after service. 
Overall, Next is a good restaurant that allows you to experience food that is global while being innovative like Alinea. I wasn't wowed by the food, but the service was spot on. It was a long dinner service and I thoroughly enjoyed sitting near the kitchen and watching the chefs cook. I think it's a good restaurant to experience something like Alinea, but paying slightly cheaper for it. 

Notable Dishes: Chica de Manzana

No comments:

Post a Comment