One of the things we’ve stressed to people about Grant Achatz’s restaurants is that the theatrical side of it, the messing with your head side of it, is as much a part of the enjoyment of dining as the food. Here’s a video about a new dish from Alinea that takes this conceptual approach to one extreme. It’s called Lamb 86, and it consists of a simple plate of, we assume, roasted lamb loin… accompanied by a plexiglass grid of 60 possible condiments or accompaniments. (The 86 comes from the fact that some of the squares contain multiple ingredients.) On any rational level, that is, as the phrase puts it, the tyranny of choice— how can you choose? How can you avoid feeling that someone else is picking better things than you? Which is precisely the point… it’s a puzzle designed to get you and your dining companions hunting madly for the best combinations out of everything that’s in the chef’s head. It’s less a composed dish than the catalog to make one from— and a splendid visual joke about modern cuisine, with all its drips and dribbles on the plate. Watch it come together in this irresistibly compelling short video by Christian Seel, below.
Lamb 86. Photo: courtesy Alinea