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Alinea-12 or 24 courses?

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Thanks to Pugman's help, I've decided on Alinea, I was wavering for a while but his advice really made the decision easy.

The only question is to do 12 or 24 courses? Has anyone here done both? I called Alinea today, they said by the time I'm there in June, there will probably be an entirely new menu. I'm just wondering, with 24 courses, it has to be over four hours, is it entertaining the whole time?

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  1. I prefer the 12-course with paired wines. The length of the meal and quantity of food is just right. Also, you get slightly bigger portions of some of the best dishes with the 12-course. They will usually let you add on courses from the other menu, if you see something that really intrigues you. (I hope they will still do this.) I did the 24-course once and really loved it, but 2 of the 5 in our party thought it was just too long and too much (I disagree).

    How's dad's stamina? Going to a Cubs game and then to a 4+ hour dinner might be too much for some people. Our 24-course was 6 hours, but I know they've sped up the progression over the months.

    Either way, you're in for an amazing time.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pugman

      We're going to Alinea the day before the game, staying at a hotel, then going to the game and driving home afterwards. Way too much to do in one day!

      I think we'll do the 12 courses, after looking on the website, it looks like the 12 courses are the best ones from the 24 course menu.

      One more question...have you been to Kevin and if so what did you think? Might try it next time.

      1. re: Elrushbo

        Yes, I've been to Kevin a few times. It's very good, but not a favorite (but I know that it IS a favorite of quite a few, because they seem to have a loyal following). My only real criticism is that many of the dishes would be better off with one or two fewer ingredients, but that may just be my own hangup.

    2. h
      hungry_in_lakeview

      My feeling is that if you are going pay big money on an experience like Alinea, you might as well go all the way. It's not like you are going to be going there every weekend. My wife and I went there with friends last fall and did the 24 course with wine pairings. In spite of the enormous price tag (possibly the most I have ever paid for a single meal on a per person basis) my wife and I both agreed that it was well worth it. Sit back and let them work their full magic. If you will excuse the cheesy analogy, if you were granted an audience with Picasso, would you have him paint for you on a full canvas using all his colors or on half a canvas with only reds and blues?

      1 Reply
      1. re: hungry_in_lakeview
        m
        mike coughlin

        Couldn't agree more. Go all the way. It is an amazing dining experience.

      2. We just ate there 2 weeks ago and are so glad that we did the 24 courses. We were there about 4 hours, the time passed quickly, and since the chairs are so comfy, it was no problem sitting that long. I started to peter out at course #19, but my husband went strong till the end. I'm glad we didn't miss a course. By the way, the bison presentation was absolutely incredible.

        1. Please! How much $$ are we talking about here???

          Thank you.

          1. Any updates on this question? We are going to Alinea (visiting from SF) in September and also unsure which way to go.

            One specific question: how do they work wine pairings with these menus? Small pairings matched with 12 courses sounds almost doable (though still a lot)... but 24 courses?!? Do they have some wines that cut across courses?