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21st Century Ltd.

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  1. Obviously, EMP and Alinea are doing a swap sometime this fall.

    1. I suppose this is one answer to what's next at EMP after Labour Day.

      Having never dined at Alinea myself, I'll certainly be hitting OpenTable as soon as they announce the dates that Achatz will be in New York...

      4 Replies
        1. re: Sneakeater

          Surely some of you Gotham gourmands have already been to Alinea!

          Are you suggesting I may have some difficulty booking a table? Dude, you're really harshing my mellow right now...

          UPDATED: a friend wonders if this might not provide EMP an opportunity to test untrammelled demand with a Next-style pricing regime. Ouch.

          1. re: Winterpool

            I think your friend is right but not about the variable pricing, more about a ticket system for this project in general. My guess is that they'll be using the same pre-paid ticket system powering the NoMad Rooftop, Next, and Alinea sites. It's a white label solution created by Next/Alinea that Achatz/Kokonas hope to rollout to many more restaurants in the future.

            Also given that the Per Se-Alinea dinner cost $1500pp including tax, tip, wine, and signed cookbooks in 2008, I am cautious about the price point for this.

            1. re: kathryn

              'Also given that the Per Se-Alinea dinner cost $1500pp including tax, tip, wine, and signed cookbooks in 2008, I am cautious about the price point for this.'

              Mellow: demolished.

      1. http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co...

        Tickets to the dinners are $495 per person plus tax and a 20 percent service charge. Wine pairings are included in the price. The restaurants have not yet set a date when tickets will go on sale.

        Alinea will be at EMP from Sept 26-30. EMP will be at Alinea Oct 10-14.

        4 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          For that much $, I'd sooner return to Per Se for the Extended Tasting Menu (and the service charge at Per Se is included in the $500 cost).

          1. re: ellenost

            Or, y'know, go to both EMP ($195 dinner tasting) and Alinea ($210 tasting) separately.

            Given that it's enforced wine pairings, they'll probably be pouring some expensive wines (which would be lost on me, and probably left unfinished).

            1. re: kathryn

              That sounds like a great idea! (Or if you can get a good price for a flight--my last trip to Chicago cost $274, fly to Chicago and eat at Alinea).

              1. re: kathryn

                I hope they post the intended wines in advance: for ~$640 per person, they had better be very good.

                Does Alinea include service in its prices? If not, then this may not be a bad deal, considering the equivalent might be $210 + $200 or so wines + $100 tax, tip + airfare + hotel room.

          2. Somewhat to my surprise, Ryan Sutton does the sums and concludes: 'Your call, world. But we might give this one a try.'


            'In Chicago, the tasting menu typically starts around $210 (it can range from $185-$265 depending on your reservation) and wine pairings generally start at $165 or thereabouts.

            'So after 20% service charge and 11.5% Chicago sales tax, you’re at $502 for one or $1,004 for two.'

            1. I am a bit confused here. Is Chef Humm going to be doing any cooking at his restaurant while the Alinea crew is in town? And what about going the other way - will the Alinea crew be in their restaurant when EMP is in town?

              2 Replies
              1. re: koko85

                From the Chicago article:

                "both restaurants will continue operating in their home cities during their week on the road. The challenge will be running two restaurants simultaneously in two time zones while maintaining some semblance of consistency. "

                After rereading your question I don't think this answers your question but I'll post it anyway JIC.

                1. re: koko85

                  From the same article:

                  "Three days before the Sept. 26 opening night, Alinea chef Grant Achatz and chef de cuisine Matt Chasseur will fly their team of a dozen staffers to New York, and in a 72-hour crash course, effectively train the Eleven Madison Park staff to replicate Alinea. The process repeats when Humm, general manager Will Guidara and team arrives in Chicago Oct. 7. Recipe cards have already arrived in both kitchens in preparation."

                  So staff wise, it's a dozen Alinea people traveling to EMP and EMP will have its full staff. And vice versa.

                2. OK - I called earlier today and I was told by the gentleman who answered the phone that yes Chef Humm will most likely be onsite at EMP while Alinea is there but will not be doing any cooking. And same thing in reverse for when they head to Chicago. He said in short Alinea will be at EMP serving Alinea food and EMP will be at Alinea serving their food.

                  1. Updating to report their sales site is up, and you can create an account in advance and load your credit card in readiness for tickets. 'Tickets will go on sale soon!'


                      1. re: kathryn

                        very little infuriates me like being at work and having a site refuse to let me use it with IE.

                            1. re: sundropforever

                              So much was said prior to this event and much has been said now that it is over so I will not try to add to those write ups but I would like to say it was fantastic and we are so happy we were fortunate enough to attend. It was beyond our imagination (and our imagination was already off the hook so...). We can see why EMP and Alinea are such a good match because regardless of all the "magic" the bottom line is - Make incredible food! And it was, every bite. Some Alinea people did say the environment was quite different at EMP so now our plan is to get out to Alinea and see what it's like on it's home field.

                              1. re: Spiritchaser

                                Alinea is fantastic. Pete Wells had a great point - the dining room at Alinea is more modular than EMP's so there are fewer "spoilers" during the meal (seeing / smelling courses you haven't gotten to yet). The entryway of Alinea's "optical illusion" is also really fun.

                                1. re: kathryn

                                  It's funny because after we wondered how Alinea adapted to EMP (intimate to grand) we started wondering how EMP will translate to Alinea (grand to intimate). Can't wait to see what some Chicago hounds have to say when they get their turn.

                                  1. re: Spiritchaser

                                    I'm going to the EMP at Alinea dinner this evening and will report back. I've been to both Alinea and EMP, so I am interested to see how the EMP experience differs here in the Alinea space. I just had lunch at EMP while visiting Manhattan right before Labor Day, but couldn't pass up this opportunity to go in my own back yard.

                                    1. re: Spiritchaser

                                      Sorry for my delay in reporting back on my EMP at Alinea experience--I've been thinking about it all week. I won't go into detail on the food since there are many posts about the current menu, but more just give you my thoughts on how the experience translated as someone who has been to both Alinea and EMP.

                                      The food itself was executed perfectly and our 5 hour experience flew by--I couldn't believe it was 1:30 am when I walked out the door! As Kathryn mentions above, Alinea is more modular than EMP, so you might expect fewer spoilers, but that did not turn out to be the case. We were seated after the two other tables in the room and could tell what would be heading our way; maybe even more so than I've sometimes found at EMP. You didn't get all the details though and we were mostly focused on what was happening at our own table, so it wasn't an issue.

                                      The most difficult part of our evening was that the room we were in was fairly loud (due mostly to the 6 top) which made it difficult to hear what all the ingredients in a dish were. And, unless prompted, the staff at our table didn't repeat anything. And, while I think our service was good, I don't think it was as good as the service that I've typically had at EMP. Of course, most of the people serving us were not from EMP and Alinea has a slightly different style of service.

                                      They definitely did think of details, including music, tablecloths and some changes to the lighting to give it more of the EMP feel. The best part was a little bar that they set up outside the kitchen which was your first stop on the journey. Since Alinea doesn't have a bar area, this was a really nice way to try to give you a little bit of the feel of EMP within the confines of the space. And the bartender was from EMP and really helped start the evening off right.

                                      Overall, I prefer the grand room at EMP, but my food experience definitely didn't suffer from being in the more intimate space. Our friends that came with us had not been to either place and they were thrilled with the whole evening. If I were given the opportunity to make the decision again about whether to attend (and spend the money!), I would definitely still make the same decision.