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Jul 13, 2007 01:37 PM

alinea or moto? help please

i have one night in chicago and need some help choosing between the two? how are they different? they both sound really interesting and i am sure i can't go wrong with either but i'd like to get some insider help. thanks in advance.

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  1. Alinea is the complete package--food, service, comfort/atmosphere that is among the best you'll find anywhere. Absolutely lives up to all the hype. Even though a meal can last for many hours, you don't want it to end. In my personal "Top 10 Meals of All Time," Alinea holds several places, including the #1 position.

    Lots of people adore Moto and I also expected that I would at least enjoy it, since I'm an adventurous food-obsessed geek. But I HATED my one and only dinner there (the top tasting menu with wine pairings). More than half of the 16 or so courses simply didn't taste very good. A few (desserts, mostly) were actually quite repellent. Clever? Perhaps. Delicious? Not even close. The diners seated on either side of our table felt the same way. Combined with indifferent service, so-so wine pairings and surroundings not comfortable enough to spend 4+ hours eating and I have to say that my experience at Moto was the worst big-bucks meal among literally hundreds of 3- and 4-star dinners. Just my two cents worth (or, actually 72,000 cents). I'm sure other 'Hounds will have a very different tale. Admittedly, I've only been to Moto once, so maybe my experience was atypical.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pugman

      I have to agree with you. While I can't compare it to Alinea (I haven't been there), I was rather disappointed with my experience at Moto a couple of weeks ago. Each dish is very interesting/unexpected/molecularly advanced, but I found that they often seemed to ignore the basics, as evidenced by overcooked and dry proteins in more than one course. It seems like Moto too often emphasizes showiness over solid substance. This quality led me to describe the meal as "shallow" to those who asked me about it afterwards. I got the sense from my dining partners that Alinea (where they have both dined) offers a much richer experience with more attention to every detail.

      1. re: Pugman

        i would tend to agree, based on 1 visit to each. While both places had dishes that did not "work" for me from a taste point of view, Moto had more of these than Alinea did. Moto was fun and creative but was more "theatre" than "dinner", more "amuses" than "bouche". I enjoyed both and was glad to have visited both, but felt I would be happy to return to Alinea but probably not Moto.

      2. I was actually pretty impressed with a recent dinner I had at Moto. In terms of both food and service, I think Alinea comes out on top, but I think Moto provides a bit more of a "whimisical" experience.

        1. Go to alinea as it may soon be changing due to the chefs personal situation. moto is bound to be around for some time