NEXT: A Theatrical Exhibition of Flavors


NEXT is the quirky, eccentric sibling in the Alinea Group family of restaurants. At the helm of this establishment, we have Grant Achatz, an American chef known for his genius molecular gastronomy. His background includes time at Thomas Keller's The French Laundry. Grant's partner, Nick Kokonas is the proprietor behind "Tock", a ticketing and reservation system used by some of the best restaurants in the world, including Eleven Madison Park. Together, they've achieved an insane number of 4-star reviews from the Chicago Tribune and even a James Beard Award (2012). 

Every four months, the menu transforms completely. During our visit, the theme was... Hollywood! Each dish was dedicated to an iconic movie. The titles were diverse, ranging from The Breakfast Club to Ratatouille. 

One of my favorite dishes was Blade Runner, especially since I had just watched the movie. But, it was a reference to that opening scene where Harrison Ford was eating Japanese noodles in that dark, rainy dystopia. After one bite, he's arrested, unable to finish his noodles. At NEXT, they recreated those noodles with duck and pickled ginger. But, you only get one bite just like Rick Deckard. 

During our visit, Steph and I thought it was a "smart" idea to have the three cocktail tasting menu at The Aviary next door... on an empty stomach. Needless to say, we were wasted by the time we got to NEXT. For that reason, I'm sorry but I have no good explanations or commentary for the food at Aviary. All I can say is that the food was great and the theme was a lot of fun. 

Hope I can go back soon! Eating here was a really fun experience. 

Cuisine: American

Average Price per Person: $250 USD

Address: Chicago, USA 

Recommended: Tasting Menu

  • Overall Rating: 4

  • Taste: 4

  • Authenticity/Creativity: 4.5

  • Service: 4

  • Atmosphere: 4

  • Value: 4

Gone with the Caviar at NEXT in Chicago

Gone with the Caviar. On one of the film strips say, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a...". Then, the little snack says, "Damn" to complete the famous quote from Gone with the Wind. 

Popcorn at NEXT in Chicago

Popcorn, Meyer Lemon, Fennel, Guanciale

The Breakfast Club at NEXT in Chicago

The Breakfast Club: Bento Box, Sandwich, Soup

20000 Leagues Under the Sea at NEXT in Chicago

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Octopus and Scallop

Blade Runner at NEXT in Chicago

Blade Runner: Noodles, Duck, Pickled Ginger

Jurassic Park at NEXT in Chicago

Jurassic Park: Madeira, Jamon, Pumpernickel

Honey I Shrunk The Kids at NEXT in Chicago

Honey, I Shrunk The Kids: Foie Gras, Chamomile, Sunflower

The Wizard of Oz at NEXT in Chicago

The Wizard of Oz: Fava Bean, Golden Raisin, Romanesco

Star Wars at NEXT in Chicago

Star Wars: Frog, Ethiopian Spices, Yellow Split Pea

Pulp Fiction at NEXT in Chicago
Pulp Fiction at NEXT in Chicago

Pulp Fiction: Bulgogi Big Kahuna Burger

Ratatouille at NEXT in Chicago

Ratatouille: Byaldi

Horror at NEXT in Chicago
Horror at NEXT in Chicago

Horror: Smoked Pork Neck, Beet, Garlic

The Godfather at NEXT in Chicago

The Godfather: Taro Root, Ricotta, Olive

Life is like a box of at NEXT in Chicago

"Life is like a box of...": Truffle Shuffle, Coffee and Cigarettes, Some Like It Hot, Nutty Professor

Marie Antoinette at NEXT in Chicago

Marie Antoinette: Rhubarb, Raspberry, Black Tea

Mary Poppins at NEXT in Chicago

Mary Poppins: Honeydew, Menthol, Fernet

Steph at NEXT in Chicago
Jon at NEXT in Chicago