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Alinea Trading Places With New York's Eleven Madison Park

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Aug 29, 2012 5:40PM

Next Stop: Manhattan

The staffs of two of the top restaurants in America are going to be switching locations for a spell this autumn. Grant Achatz is sending his staff at Alinea to New York City's Eleven Madison Park. EMP's Daniel Humm, in turn, will bring his crew to Alinea.

It's part of of a pop-up experiment called the 21st Century Limited, named after the 20th Century Limited rail line that ran between the two cities. The EMP staff will call Alinea home Sept. 26-30. Alinea will return the favor with five nights at EMP Oct. 10-14.

Both sides are being cryptic on the details but do promise to bring the three-star Michelin rated service each restaurant has earned along with them. Achatz told the New York Times "Diners Journal" blog:

“When we bring Alinea to New York, we’re looking at it as a Michelin three-star restaurant that’s popping up in New York,” he said. “I mean, we’re not taking it lightly.”

Complicating matters, the pop-up exchange is timed so that Alinea and EMP are operating in two cities at the same time. It will be interesting to see how Eleven Madison Park, in particular, will handle this. Humm and business partner Will Guidara are unveiling a complete reinvention of their restaurant after Labor Day. Regardless, this is a unique opportunity to get a taste of one of New York's best restaurants without having to cough up the airfare.

For those interested in the exchange, expect to cough up some dough. These dinners will cost $495 with a 20 percent service charge. (Wine pairings are optional.) Tickets are not yet on sale.