Alinea Review

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.

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3 Comments to “Alinea Review”

  1. Sharyn says:

    Very impresed with your description of each sample of food. I think I will need to live this experience vicariously through your detailed descriptions.
    Looking forward to gelatto at the end of May.


  2. Becky says:

    What a bizarre façade for a restaurant! I’m glad you liked the food, even though it was scant.

  3. Jane Hackenberg says:

    When we were in New Orleans we ate at the French Quarter and that restaurant also gave little bitty portions for a big price. We were unhappy but we did have the experience of eating in that fancy place. So some restaurants are not about the quantity of food. Which still boggles my mind and stomach!

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