My foodie friend in Chicago recommended this Michelin 1 star restaurant called Elizabeth. They have ‘theme’ dinners and this month/quarter’s theme was the movie ‘Twin Peaks,’ which I never watched, so didn’t get the full experience of the meal, but I figured that the food should speak for itself. Once again, we had to pre-pay the non-refundable meal (I’m not liking this theme Chicago.) A month later, my friend told me Next was having their ode to the Top 50 Restaurants meal, which I would have probably enjoyed more even though it’d be very similar to Alinea.
So here’s the thing. I’m glad we ate here before Alinea because it would be like staying at the Park Hyatt for 1 night and then moving to the Sheraton by the airport the next night. Okay, maybe it doesn’t contrast that much, but there is a huge discrepancy between the two restaurants. But let’s focus on this meal. The restaurant is small; about 9 tables. Because we had already paid for the meal, we just had to decide if we wanted either the wine pairing or the mixed pairing. Both were around $90. My wife and I both were intrigued with the mixed pairing and got a paring EACH. The mixed pairing involved some wine, sake, beer, cider, etc. We enjoyed the pairing.
The first course we found out after our first drink was served was already on the table. Yes, the twigs on the table was the first course. Well, just the dark 2 pieces that looked like chicken legs. It was more or less just toasted bread. After that, we were brought out a box with a syringe and a coke bag. I thought that was fun although it wasn’t that tasty. The coolest course was the whole Bunsen burner course where they boiled the broth and fish at your table. There were a couple of courses that had to do with a diner (especially the dessert) since the show took place in a diner a few times. All in all, I liked the theme although some of the courses were lacking just plain salt.
Afterwards, I met up with my friend and told her the experience, and she told me she’s on a mailing list where the meal is only $70-$90 or so. Well that made sense then. If that was a $70 meal, I’d love it too, but for $165 a pop, I think that’s reaching. I don’t think it’s worth paying $165 continuously until you get on the VIP list. You know how I know that? Because even my Chase Freedom set off 2 fraud alerts when I was paying for the wine pairings (maybe Chase was asking me, “for real? at this restaurant? c’mon playa.”)