Dinner at Alinea is a transformative experience. It’s more than dining. It’s theater and art. But don’t mistake this billing as some rich man’s Medieval Times.
It’s really hard to describe Alinea without context. If you’re unfamiliar, then I highly suggest you watch Grant Achatz’s episode of Chef’s Table (Season 2, Episode 1).
Every bite and sip is evocative. Throughout dinner, each course presents in different ways. Sometimes, you’ll encounter the familiar in a way that’s unexpected. Other times it’s the novel or the bizarre that you can’t even begin to process. Either way, you always want one more bite.
One of my favorite parts about dining, and particularly at Alinea, is when I eat something that rewires my brain. As I chew, I can feel the synapses firing and forming new neural pathways. I know it sounds strange, but it happens often with great wine and great food.
The first time this ever happened was at Moto. The course, called Cigar, involved pulled pork rolled in a grape leave that was served in an ashtray. I laughed so hard when it came out. It was insanity. But when I tasted it, I sensed those tobacco-like notes on my palate, and my brain lit up like a Christmas Tree.
A similar situation happened with a course pictured below of Veal Cheek and Melon. The cheek is covered by a leafy green and accompanied by a simple slice of melon. It looks austere. But when you dove in, it played the exact opposite. It was confounding and complex, in direct contrast with its apperance.
The absolute standout was the course of Black Truffle, Gruyere and Pumpernickel. It was an explosion of flavor that was decadent and sumptuous. It also took arguably the best photo. Truly, this course had star power.
While the food is pure fantasy, the wine pairings play right along. The standouts were the Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc and the Yarra Valley Syrah.
Alinea Photo Tour