Alinea – Chicago

Alinea har gjort sig mest känd för sitt experimentella och molekylära kök. Det har i alla fall varit min uppfattning om restaurangen – hittills. Efter ett besök på Chicagos mest omtalade krog visar det sig att maten är mycket mer varierad. Sedan Grant Achatz nyöppnade Alinea för någon månad sedan finns här menyer i tre olika nivåer. The Salon är den minst experimentella, Galleriet är en nivå upp och slutligen Köksbordet som är en upplevelse för alla sinnen.

Att boka Alinea, under mitt korta mellanspel i Chicago, kändes inte helt självklart. En trestjärnig restaurang kräver en fylld plånbok, och det molekylära köket har både tappat en del av sin forntida glans och mitt intresse. Men … nyfikenheten tog överhand. Det visade sig att The Salon, som jag valde, inte alls var särskilt expermientell utan mer en klassisk Guide Michelinupplevese med en uppvisning i smaker, texturer och tekniker. Några av rätterna lyste lite svagare och andra var total magi!

In english: Alinea och Grant Achatz is famous for it’s experimental and molecular kitchen. That’s at least what I thought, but after my visit to the Chicagos most famous restaurant I know it’s much more diverse. Since the restaurant reopened about a month ago they have three different menus. The Salon menu, which is the least expermiental, the Gallery is one level up and the Kitchen table, which is an innovative experience for all sences.

I was not sure if I wanted to visit Alinea during my short stay in Chicago. A three star restaurant demands a big bank account, and the molecular kitchen has lost some of it’s charm. But … I was too curious not to go. I choose the Salon and the food was not especially expermiental, more a classic three Michelin star experience with a wide range of flavours, textures and technics. Some of the dishes sparkled a little less and some were pure magic!

 

Alinea har varit stängd under våren för renovering och öppnade igen i mitten av maj.
Alinea har varit stängd under våren för renovering och öppnade igen i mitten av maj. /Alinea has been closed for renovation during the spring and reopened in the middle of May.
Menyn bygger på olika ord som is, kontrast, målning. / The menu is built on different words as ice, contrast and paint.
Menyn bygger på olika ord som is, kontrast, och färg. / The menu is built on different words as ice, contrast and paint.
Ice - Ebi, banana, coconut, verjus blanc och lychee.
Ice – Ebi (hawaiian deep water prawn), banana, coconut, verjus blanc och lychee. The bowl is hand carved in ice.
Crunch paper - Scallop made into thin paper with consommé of corn and butter ...
Crunch paper – Scallop made into thin paper with consommé of corn and butter. A dish filled with umami and sweetness …
... served with scallop mousse in kombu nori.
… served with scallop mousse in nori with kombu.
Yellow - Sweet potato, curry, mustard seeds, golden beets and yolks. This was actually the least interesting dish for me. Tasted a bit like the mayo you use on a chicken sandwich.
Yellow – Sweet potato, curry, mustard seeds, pink grapefruit, yellow onion, mango and hikama. This was actually the least interesting dish for me. Tasted a bit like the mayo you use on a chicken sandwich.
Contrast - A dish in three servings starting with apple, yuzu and lemon verbena ...
Contrast – A dish in three servings starting with apple, yuzu and lemon verbena …
... covered in nitro.
… covered in nitro.
Second serving is white asparagus, lychee and lily bulb.
Second serving: White asparagus, lychee and lily bulb.
Third serving: Tomato, watermelon, parmesan. golden honeydew and white sesame.
Third serving: Tomato, watermelon, parmesan. golden honeydew and white sesame.
Aya (ice fish), kumquat and radish.
Sparrow glass swirl: Ayu (ice fish), kumquat and radish.
Glass: Morel, blueberry, lapsang souchong, rhubarb and black garlic.
Glass petal in two servings: Morel, foie gras, blueberry, lapsang souchong. Just heavenly!
Second serving: Do you see the onion sandwich in the allium?
Second serving: Do you see the onion cracker in the allium? …
Onion, purple allium and black pepper. Deep concentrated onion flavour.
Onion, purple allium and black pepper. Deep concentrated onion flavor. A small piece with big flavors.
Truffle sandwich with Australian truffle, gruyere on rye. Wow!
Truffle sandwich with Australian truffle, gruyere custard on rye. Wow!
Smoke: Palo Santo mezcal, pineapple, chicken, non alcoholic pechuga and a chocolat praline. A dish inspired by Mexico and the chicken is decorated as the Mexican flag.
Smoke: Palo Santo, pineapple, chicken, anchochili, non alcoholic pechuga. Chicken liver mousse and a chocolate bonbon with pineapple and plantain. A dish inspired by Mexico and the chicken is decorated as the Mexican flag.
Cloche bone in two servings: Veal cheek covered by xxxx and melon ...
Cloche bone in two servings: Veal cheek, green curry butter, lettuce, thai vinaigrette, finger lime, cucumber and melon …
... Puffed rice bone marrow, wagyu and myoga.
… Bone marrow puffed rice, wagyu and myoga.
Lamb, blackberry and black garlic.
Elysian fields: Lamb, blackberry, kalamata olives, feta cheese and black garlic.
Carnival rainbow: Goat cheese ice cream, campari, anise, strawberry, sweet and tart cherry with date.
Carnival rainbow: Goats milk ice cream with rhubarb, campari gel, rhubarb, strawberry, black licorice reduction.
Can't help it, but I sometimes love these crazy things happening at dinner. Helium balloons made of strawberry caramel. Taste like the caramel I had when I was little. A caramel wrapped in paper.
Can’t help it, but I sometimes love these crazy things happening at dinner. Helium filled strawberry balloons.. This is super famous and taste like the strawberry caramel I had when I was a child – a square, small caramel wrapped in paper.
Cherry, chocolate and bourbon.
Cherry, chocolate and bourbon.
And the mignardise: Chinese cinnamon and golden crackrock ...
And the mignardise: Chinese cinnamon and golden crackrock …
Sweet cicely marshmallow.
Sweet cicely marshmallow.

Servicen var tipptopp och vi valde det alkoholfria dryckespaketet som parades fint till maten. Besöket betalas vid bokning men är ombokningbart. Alla priser inkluderar moms och dricks, något kändes positivt. Det är skönt att slippa fundera på hur mycket dricks som man bör lägga på, särskilt i USA som är ett land där dricks är en viktig del av krogkulturen.

The service was excellent and the non alcoholic pairing very satisfying. You pay your dinner when you make your reservation with possibility to reschedule. All prices include tax and tip, somethink I like. It’s good not to have to think about how much tip you should give, specially in USA, that is a country where tip is an important part of the restaurant business.

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