Next Announces Menus For 2013

By Anthony Todd in Food on Nov 29, 2012 9:20PM

2012_11_8_NextKyoto.jpg
The current Next menu, Kyoto, ends in January.

Chef Grant Achatz revealed a few weeks ago that the next menu for Next, his wildly popular, yet Michelin-ignored restaurant on West Fulton Market, would be "The Hunt." This really resonated, particularly after we had such a great time eating Elizabeth's forage-based cuisine. But we still wondered what Achatz would come up with next. Now we know.

The Tribune revealed today that the next two menus for Next, after The Hunt, would be Vegan and Bocuse d'Or. If you have no idea what that second one is, you aren't alone. The Bocuse d'Or is a famous cooking competition in France, named for Chef Paul Bocuse. It's like the world championships of cooking, and the rules are very particular. The gimmick for this version of Next is that every dish will have to fit into the rules of the competition. There may even be diner participation. "Achatz said he's already thinking about diner interactivity, such as letting them vote on the proteins, in the spirit of competition. Achatz himself is a coach for the 2013 Team U.S.A."

We're actually really excited about the Vegan menu, especially the way the Next team (represented by Chef Dave Beran) described it.

When the menu turns again in May, the restaurant will present an all-vegan tasting. I asked Beran whether serving just vegetables would turn off the meat-eating majority, and more importantly, whether they’d be willing to pay $200-plus without a slice of Wagyu or foie gras. Beran suggested the term "vegan" traditionally conjures up tofu burgers and raw lasagna. "Don’t think of fake proteins, think of actual vegetables,” he said. Seasonality and ingredients will be the main drivers.

We'll definitely pay for a vegan menu just to see what that crew can come up with, though we have a sneaking suspicion that it may be easier to get tickets for that menu. On the other hand, perhaps all the frustrated vegetarian and vegan gourmands will come out of the woodwork, eager for a chance to finally try Next. The restaurant will also be expanding service to seven days a week, so more tickets will be available.