Thursday, September 29, 2016

drum roll please...

so yes, tonight we had our tickets to The French Laundry at Next Chicago.  I was somewhat concerned that nothing could live up to either the expectations or the price tag for this meal.  The meal itself was not the big ticket item at the checkout - it was the wine pairings.  One complaint we have pretty much always had about Next is that even when you get the reserve pairings, they don't generally pour highest end wines, but tonight was the complete exception- we had stunning wines to pair with the wonderful recipes that Chef Achatz had made while at the French Laundry training with Thomas Keller between 1996-2001.  But let's get on with the show!

we arrived to find a plain clothes pin anchoring our napkins at the table- reminiscent of these from the actual French Laundry meals-

the table also held an introduction of sorts from the Chef about his time at TFL-

so both the menus I posted in the last post from actual meals we had at TFL were form the era when Chef Achatz was in the kitchen there- which is kind of cool!

but on to tonight- we started with champagne- two of them actually - which were both from the same area of Champagne and both very good - we each liked one of the two but not the same one LOL-

But let's go to the menu and start the pairings-

both the oysters and pearls and the salmon cornets were things we had eaten at those meals we mentioned from 2000 and 2001 at TFL... still excellent- and still holding up to scrutiny after nearly twenty years!

with new wines togo with the next courses---

this lobster course needs to be deconstructed for you to see how amazing it was- under the little awning of "the world's BEST potato chip" the lobster was butter poached and the leeks were full of butter flavor the whole thing pretty much melted in your mouth except the extreme cripsy chip....

a summary of the menu and the wines for the full view-

A shout out to our wine server Roxy who really enhanced our experience of both the wines and the meal!  And just to bring things back full circle the two menus we had at TFL when Chef Achatz was there in the kitchen - way back when-

OK so we have liked the food at pretty much all of the next meals we have gotten tickets for but this was by far the best combination of food and wine we have had at next over the years... this is a big ticket meal and it lives up to the both the price tag and the expectations - the atmosphere is much more "lively" (euphemism for nosiy) and perhaps a tad less gracious in the multi-purpose decor of Next over the lovely garden/farmhouse look of TFL but overall this meal has moved Paris 1906 to the number two slot on our list of favorite meals at Next.  Bravo!

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