When we joked about Alinea opening a taco joint earlier today, we didn’t think it would actually come true. But it turns out that the kitchen’s latest toy — a Crucial Detail serving piece that designer Martin Kastner constructed to examine the interplay between two- and three-dimensional serving vessels — results in what the menu calls “Pork Belly, curry, cucumber, lime,” and what appears to us to be basically a very very fancy, very very meticulously prepared pork belly mini-burrito. That the diner gets to build for himself!
The 2D-3D juxtaposition works on two levels. First, there’s the serving piece itself, which is presented as a flat object, then gets unfolded into a skeletal, bowl-like structure. Then a flat sheet of herbs pressed between rice paper is draped on top, so that when the sous-vided curry pork belly is plated, the paper sags and the flat “plate” becomes a depth-possesing “bowl.” And then! The do-it-yourself part: the diner adds garnishes from a pre-plated selection (per Alinea chef Christian Seel: “Hawaiian volcanic salt, cucumber, garlic chips, fresh banana, young coconut, red onion, lime segments with zest, toasted cashews, red chili pudding… [and] a basil seed-lime vinaigrette”), wrap the whole thing up in the rice paper, and chow down. Just like at Chipotle!
(FYI: The Grant Achatz-voiced introduction in the below video lasts until 0:46, at which point the visuals kick in.)
2D-3D Video [Alinea Mosaic]