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Chicago Area

Not really a review, but an observation of NEXT

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Not really a review, but an observation of NEXT

lmg70 | Apr 8, 2011 06:07 AM

I am not talented enough to write a review that will do NEXT justice - but I will say that the experience is truly incredible. From the moment you walk in until you leave, you just know that you've experienced something unique.

This really isn't a review but more or less an observation - a debriefing of sorts.

That Team Achatz can create a high-end dining experience for $70 a person (we went Thursday night at 6), is amazing. The servers are approachable, knowledgeable about the food and history and attentive. Unlike other "fancy restaurants", at Next you actually hear people talking, hear utensils hitting the plates and glass clinking. This is high end dining for the masses - and I mean that in the most complimentary way.

Having just returned from a trip to Spain and eating in some incredible restaurants in San Sebastian (more Michelin stars per capita than anywhere else in the world) and Bareclona (Alikimia is a must), I was anxious to see NEXT would compare. It not only matched the food - but exceeded it with atmosphere and quality of ingredients.

I won't go course by course - I will let someone more versed in food do that, but I will say that the pressed duck was the showstopper. Tender and meaty with a sauce made of cognac and juices from the duck, that course was the one that people will talk about. But equally impressive - and usually harder to pull off - was the dessert course with a cold bombe ceylan with hints of rum and chocolate cookie.

There were also some surprises - especially with the hors d'oeuvres course - so I won't ruin it but expect a surprise with the quail egg.

Again -- food alone doesn't make a great dining experience, it's the atmosphere. At NEXT, they have not only nailed the food but they have nailed the experience. We are fortunate to have them in our city.

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