MICHELIN Guide’s Point Of View
Alinea may have opened in 2005, but Chef Grant Achatz is still bursting with novel ideas. Now more than ever, this restaurant is mature, substantive, soulful and operates with an infectious confidence. Dining here is partly theater and pure pleasure. Meals take advantage of every sense, so guests should expect scented vapors, unexpected tricks, sizzling charcoal and tableside preparations. The olfactory experience is vivid—if you keep your eyes closed, intense wafts of citrus or smoke will easily reveal what course was just served. This chamber is sure to be packed; yet it feels more like a party than a crowd. Service is remarkably knowledgeable, attentive and engaged, thanks to a staff that brings both humor and personality to the meal. Dishes are always whimsical and sometimes experimental. While dining on a duo of squid-one as an inky sauce and another with lemon-chili butter-a bowl of oranges on the table is simultaneously filled with liquid nitrogen for a profound complementary aroma. Langoustines are compressed into a sheet of paper and then melt tableside into a superb bouillabaisse. Dessert may arrive floating on a string, as in a green apple balloon of childhood fun.