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Feb 24, 2006 11:19 PM


  • m

What's the scoop on this place? Never see it mentioned much on this forum.

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  1. Hopefully, the link below will help. I've been there twice and loved the meal both times. That being said, I think it's a notch below Avenues and a couple below Alinea.


    6 Replies
    1. re: BR

      Agreed on the review of Moto, I was just there a week or so ago. The food is good, and if you are looking for something that feels like half science experiment and half good meal this is your place. They tend to try and deconstruct flavors during the courses via scientific method. As an example, during our meal in order to bring out the vanilla notes in a cabernet they brough our wine glasses over to a laser where they vaporized a vanilla bean letting the vanilla vapor waft up into the glass. It should be noted that our service was a bit slow, and the food at cetain points felt like more novelty than great, but I would recommend going at least once. Having been to Alinea and Avenues, I would say that both are better, and Alinea wears the crown.

      1. re: AndyK

        Does the food taste better at Alinea? Is it the kind of food that, when tasting it, you think "this is the best thing I have ever eaten?" Is it a combination of ambience, presentation, and food?

        1. re: Elrushbo

          I know a lot of people say that Alinea was the best, but personally I was underwhelmed by the taste of the dishes. (Been there twice. I think 12 course was much better than the 24 course).

          Everything else is to perfection, though. Definitely innovative taste combinations, presentation, and great decor, atmosphere and service. Somehow to me the taste of the combinations fell short.
          During the 24 course, only 1/4 of dishes were really good. 1/2 were ok and 1/4 were actually not good at all.

          1. re: JW

            Okay, I have not eaten at every fine dining restauarant in Chicago, but I have eaten at a few, so I will try to weigh in and get to the heart of your question. As a disclaimer, obviously people have favorites and this is just my opinion, I am not restaurant reviewer nor do I play one on TV. For my money Alinea offers the best experimental dining in the city if not one of the best meals period. The food is world class, and Grant Achatz is a master of presentation. Moto is more out there (but not by much) and delivers good food but it is not as consistent, and occasionally the food suffers for the deconstructionist experiment. As far as a great meal that consistently is as good if not better than any other restaurant in Chicago, I measure all restaurants to Charlie Trotters. Alinea delivers the goods and is in the same league, Moto is not.

            You can complicate things by brining Avenues into the equation (short guide: better than Moto, not quite as good as Alinea) but if you are looking for a spectacle on the plate and good food go with Alinea.

            1. re: JW

              I have been to all 3 and I wil say moto is the most innovative and very delicious. The service is top notch and flawless. Avenues is the most approachable and still amazing. Alinea is very cutting edge and relies more on very unique flavor combinations. All 3 are gems in my opinion and are all very different operations.

            2. re: Elrushbo

              Alinea - the best food I've ever eaten! Of course, the presentation is amazing. The dining room and seating is so comfortable and the staff makes you feel at ease about the food . . . anything but pretentious. They want you to have a fantastic experience. But at the end of the day, you're paying for food and Grant Achatz delivers -- a huge part of the experience is enjoying flavors, textures and ingredients that no other chef dares to try.

              That's no knock on Moto -- the flavors are outstanding and like Alinea, very creative. It's just that sometimes I think Moto is a bit more about the science and less the dining experience. The food is wonderful, the dining room is good but not great -- just not the same level of dining.

        2. Was lucky to attend a private dinner for 50 at Moto on Monday. I'm not sure it improves the flavor to convert sesame oil into a chunky powder -- served from gravy boats, "steaming" like dry ice -- but it made the meal more fun and gave us more to talk about. Always helpful during long business dinners. Some of the wine pairings were absolutely amazing; a couple seemed too extreme (like a pinot-style sherry that was super dry and very heavy on the wood).

          Of many delicious "misdirections", the most successful in my view was the dessert of "nachos" featuring sweetened corn chips, kiwi bits, mango "cheese", chocolate ground "beef", and cheesecake-flavored sour cream. Definitely not something you could re-create at home.