I’ve been thinking about what should be on my bucket list and haven’t made much progress, but I am able to add (and cross off) dining at North America’s top restaurant. It was a confusing experience, though. I really enjoyed myself, but I was also disappointed, and not just because I left hungry.
Maybe my expectations were too high. I expected to be absolutely wowed with every bite and I certainly was wowed with some of the bites. However, there usually wasn’t enough in the course to have a second taste. I believe the chef’s philosophy is that after a few bites of something, your taste buds adjust and you don’t experience the rest of the dish the same way as the beginning. Regardless, I would have been happier with fewer courses and larger dishes.
Many people have a hard time getting reservations at Alinea. I’ve read stories about people using four phone lines and spending an hour hitting redial to get through. Since I was going to Chicago for business, Alinea reservations were a nice-to-have, but not the reason for my trip. I decided to leave a voicemail on a Sunday afternoon, three weeks before my trip. Two days later, I got a call back saying that they had a table for me, but needed to talk to me to confirm it. I didn’t feel the phone buzz, so it went to voicemail and I spent the next 10 minutes hitting redial until I got through. I didn’t hesitate when she mentioned the table for two would be at 9:30 on Thursday night. I just hoped my computer class on Friday would be an easy one.
I had done enough research to know the restaurant doesn’t have a sign out front, just the building number (1723). Thanks to Google street view, I knew exactly where we were going.