“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources” -Albert Einstein-
This place is all about magic and surprises. One gets a mysterious feeling as when one is about to enter into a magic show or an unpredictable event.
The experience begins when one is trying to book online; it has to be done with at least two-three months of anticipation, and the seats are sold-out within 5-10 minutes, just like for a U2 concert.
The enchantment begins upon arrival to the restaurant (which is located in a pretty neighborhood, a small house-like entrance). One does not receive a menu, and is only asked whether one has any allergies. In essence, you are in the hands of the chef, ready for a hodge-podge of flavors, textures and aromas.
As one waits for the courses to start coming, the waiter hands out an alphabet soup which lets you know bits and pieces of the menu, but only if one is able to solve it; you only know what you ate at the end of the meal as they give you an envelope with the names of the actual dishes.
Given the rareness of this place, one can only expect an unusual type of dishware – a bowl made of pure ice (from which one needs to eat quickly before it melts), a coconut shell, a tree trunk base, a green apple diffuser. Among others, these different and amazing bases will blow your mind.
One of my favorite dishes was the: “Thai coconut, pompano, shellfish and kuzu”. It actually tasted like the perfect mix of Bali’s freshness and Tokyo’s gourmet touch.
Along this ride, you will feel as if the waitresses were your confidants (perhaps the booze has something to do with it). They are there to guide you along and share your amusement.
Chef Grant Achatz stretches his imagination and lets you have some meals in ways you’ve never tried them before. A great example of this is the lobster. Instead of giving you the regular piece of lobster, he offers lobster paper (you read it right). Such paper turns into exquisite lobster meat when you pour it in hot soup. Uniqueness is the term that stands for this chef.
As you may have noticed, I have a sweet tooth, thus I really appreciate an original and tasty dessert, and Alinea certainly would not let me down. I tasted the outstanding banana/apple balloon… yes, an edible balloon!!! You have to aspire all the helium that’s inside, and then eat the chewy part.
Beside the uniqueness of the flavor and the originality of the dessert, it’s impossible not to laugh when your partner sounds like a chipmunk talking. Such a blast!
I highly recommend the wine pairing. There are three categories for it, depending on your budget, but all three are amazing and they really put a lot of effort to find the perfect match for all of your courses.
Whether you want to experience something outside the box, impress yourself, or try something new, you have to come to Alinea. Trust me, it’s worth it.