Chef Achatz, deserved 2010 James Beard Outstanding Chef winner and one of the most innovative patriots in America, offers up a mouthwatering burger, inspired by the combo of the best elements of a burger with the essence of charcuterie, in the upcoming guy gourmet feature:
Later this month, he launches Next in Chicago, with a Paris 1906 menu based on Escoffier’s book. It’s available for only 12 weeks, as the resto completely changes theme quarterly. Early summer brings Thai. Many impressive meals ahead at this place.
Captivating my attention more, next door Achatz is opening Aviary, which applies the artful modernist passion steeped in Culinary (or in this case Mixology) tradition that Grant mastered at Alinea, and pours it over ice. It’s a cocktail haunt that, while respecting the tradition of crafted cocktails, pulls Mixology out of the pre-prohibition lore it has been mired in for a decade. Get ready to embrace the idea of innovation in Mixology not served by a retro-speakeasy hipster bartender. Myself? I’m looking forward to my first sparkling Negroni, G&T with “bubble tea” cucumber pearls, and a Manhattan in the rocks vs. on them.
On the marketing front, Grant has a story to tell. If you haven’t heard, just Google him. You’ll see him on Oprah & profiled in the New Yorker (2008). Finally, there’s an autobiography coming out this month, of which I know little but you may want to do some poking around if you’re into that kind of thing. What impresses me is that Next needs no marketing, it will win. It is, to be fair, the biggest, most important, most anticipated restaurant opening Chicago has ever had.
Aviary, on the other hand, as a paradigm shifting concept, in an arena where Achatz doesn’t already have a wealth of cred, is a little trickier. What to do? Embrace the new. Go viral. Check out the Aviary You Tube channel & you will get as excited about this boite that will forever change gears on the Mixology front, as I am.
I’m starting to sound like a fan boy, but this guy truly interests me & makes me proud. One last aside, for his Alinea cookbook deal, instead of taking the typical advance & having a “ghost” produce a pretty product, he poured heart, soul & intellect into it and built funding into the publishing contract for a website that enables the book to continue to evolve, as he does.
Next time we’re in Chicago together, Alinea, Next & Aviary. In the meantime, I’m ready for one helluva burger.