This week, Eater Chicago brings you a five-part mini series, where we take you on a video journey through Grant Achatz's Next and The Aviary, two of this year's most-buzzed-about openings in America.
In part 3, we enter The Aviary, which at press time still had not opened to the public. Achatz and Aviary executive chef, Craig Schoettler, give us a full tour of the space, including the Gallery, where patrons who aren't yet seated can still experience unique cocktails. The main room, which designer Tom Stringer told us its decor is inspired by gardens where the walls act as shaped hedges and the lights are like trees, is broken up into three distinct spaces. We also see a painting, titled Flight, which was created by gallerist Thomas Masters and artist Adrian Leverkuhn, specifically for the space.
The day after we filmed, Achatz flew to London to attend the 2011 S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurant awards. He told us that, depending on how well his first restaurant, Alinea, did on the list, they might host an opening night party when he returns from London. Would placing No. 6 merit opening the doors tonight?
If so, in addition to the intricate cocktails the chefs will prepare in the kitchen, they'll also create plates of one bites, which chef Andrew Graves discusses. Some examples include a chowder croquette filled with a creamy New England clam chowder; and a cheesecake made of strawberry foam that's dehydrated and hollowed out to make a shell that will be piped with cheesecake puree and garnished with a graham cracker cookie and balsamic jelly. These and the other eight one bites will be presented on "lily pads" designed by Martin Kastner, who created the unique table service pieces at Alinea. What we see here is a prototype; Achatz said the final pieces will be made of porcelain and each bite will be served on a removable leaf.
Ready to watch the video?
Tune in Thursday for part 4, when we explore the more hidden spots inside Next, including The Aviary's ice room and the secret VIP bar, The Office.
· Alinea Named No. 6 Best Restaurant in the World [~EChi~]
Thanks to Sky Full of Bacon's Michael Gebert who worked with Eater to create the videos.