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Alinea Opening

By Erin in Food on May 4, 2005 6:33PM

2005_05_alinea.gifToday is sort of the foodie equivalent of when the Beatles made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show: you know that what is happening is about to change the course of history.

Well, OK. Maybe not, but pretty close.

Alinea Restaurant, the brainchild of Chef Grant Achatz, wunderkind of the culinary world, debuts today, and while Chicagoist may be overstating the impact that Alinea will have on the industry, it's safe to say that this opening is one of the hottest, most highly anticipated in recent history.

In fact, Food & Wine is already predicting that Alinea may just be the best new restaurant in America.

2005_5_grant_achatz.jpgAt 27, Achatz took over the kitchen at Trio after a four-year stint under Thomas Keller at French Laundry. During his tenure at Trio, Achatz created some of the most talked about, adventurous food ... ever. Achatz's featured entree, the Black Truffle Explosion, ravioli that literally exploded with truffle broth when its diner would bite down, remained on the Trio menu until Achatz left last year. His philosophy is that restaurants should stimulate all five senses, and most who have tried his cooking say his food is more akin to pieces of art than something to sate one's hunger.

When Achatz left Trio, the buzz on Alinea began, reaching a fever pitch this winter when the Alinea web site featured a short, animated teaser of the new spot. Food forums such as Achatz-featured eGullet featured pages and pages of talk about Alinea, Achatz, and what it all would come to mean for Chicago's dining scene.

And tonight a select few get their first taste, peek, smell, feel and sound of Achatz's creations under the Alinea banner. Chicagoist understands that there are in fact 30-course options available to guests, which boggles the mind.

Don't expect to get into Alinea anytime soon if you don't already have reservations. The last Chicagoist heard, if you called right now the earliest you'd get a spot is August. No kidding.

Alinea, 1723 N. Halsted St., 312-867-0110.