Sooooo… Last night was the epic Achatz-Keller mashup spectacular, the $1500, 20-course dinner cooked by the two uber-chefs on the Chicago leg of their national tour.
We weren’t there, sadly, but Alinea partner Nick Kokonas checked in with us midway through the evening:
I have a break in the night between greeting and seating and, well, the actual meal is being served — the important stuff.
52 diners, all seated upstairs. We had 9 chefs and 3 front of house come in from The French Laundry and Per Se. Chef Corey Lee from [The French Laundry] is taking the lead in prep for Team Keller. Grant and Chef Keller greeted guests and are now plating up food. Then after the meal everyone is going to be welcomed downstairs in our “lounge” — we converted the front dining room for the evening into a cozy area with chairs, couches, and some low tables. Mignardes from the French Laundry and bites from Alinea along with port, cognac, armagnac… all the ‘nacs… and some demi-sec champagne will be served and guests will be welcomed into the kitchen to mingle with the staff for a toast.
The first guests are about half-way through and everything is running really smoothly. It is such a thrill for the Alinea staff to have chefs Keller and Lee and their team here… it looks like a half TFL / half Alinea restaurant… and that is just plain fun.
A little birdie of our own echoed the “just plain fun”-ness of it all, writing to us that “I’m still woozily coming out of my food coma. It was delicious, impressive, and very collegial. If you’d been there you would have said the evening was ‘super-rad.’”
Sigh. If only we’d been there. We have a feeling this is going to be one of those things we kick ourselves over for pretty much the rest of our life. Thank goodness for the vicarious thrill of postmortem reportage!