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Posted by Taster - - Posted in: Chicago, Fine Dining


 

Restaurant Information
Next
953 West Fulton Market, Chicago, IL, United States. View Larger Map
1.312.226.0858
Website & Menu – changes every few months.
Cuisine: Fine Dining – Cuisine Changes every few months.
Open: Wed-Sun: Dinner Only
Price: $$$$$ (Extremely Expensive – Our meal was $150 per person after tax and gratuity. Not including beverages – Non-alcoholic-$48, Wine Pairings-$68, Reserve Wine Pairings-$98 per person)
Parking: Street and $8 valet.
Reservations: REQUIRED – You must purchase tickets for a table in advance from their website after they announce the ticket release on facebook and twitter
Note: Be prepared for a 2 hour dinner experience.
View More Images
Taster Recommendation: If you have the disposible income to blow on food and you happen to score tickets, this place is worth it.
Next on Urbanspoon

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Review

Here at Taster.ca, we try to eat at local Windsor-Essex restaurants – but sometimes opportunities arise elsewhere that we cannot miss: in this case, tickets to the winner of the James Beard for Best New Restaurant in the USA in 2011. We happened to be of the lucky few to grab tickets for Next Restaurant‘s Sicily Menu. Yes, tickets. Next operates like a broadway play, selling tickets in advance for tables of 2, 4, or 6. Basically , once you get tickets (if you get tickets), you’ve already paid for your meal, drinks, taxes, and tip. All you have to do is show up. Reservations can’t be made and you have the window of opportunity of an hour to purchase tickets from their website after they announce the ticket release on their facebook and twitter pages.

Next Restaurant is tucked away a few blocks west of the I90 smack in the middle of the up-and-coming Fulton Meat Market. The restaurant permeates exclusivity. Without knowing the exact address or seeing the valet parking sign, Next is virtually impossible to find even when you’re standing in front of it; the restaurant name on the inconspicuous entryway can only be seen from just the right angle at night. A simple black glass door conceals the restaurant interior and the menu is kept top secret. The dining room seats 64 and they serve exactly 128 people every night. Wear your tie and dust off your dress because this fine dining establishment is the place to see and be seen in Chicago.

The service here is amazing. To keep on top of their game, the waiters and hosts track everything from when your food is fired, to where the woman is seated, what hand you use to eat with, what time you left the table so food doesn’t arrive while you are up, and even if you happened to mention that you cannot drink a lot of wine because you’re driving home. The wait staff manage to be attentive without being pretentious and will joke around with you if happen to look friendly.

The menu at Next is prix fixe with a number of courses centred around a theme that changes every few months. An idea that works well since it allows the chefs some creativity and also is a clever way to make diners excited with anticipation of the new menu and to get them coming back to the restaurant a few times a year. The June – September 2012 menu is Sicily so our meal consisted of 13 Sicilian inspired dishes. Executive chef Grant Achatz executes such a delicious meal, and every dish you taste has all of Grant’s technical knowledge that just drives the flavours home all while keeping the flavour and dishes true to the theme. The wait staff delves into the story every dish and wine as they serve it which gives the diners even more appreciation for the work that has gone into each dish.

This really was more than a restaurant it was an experience. Considering the level of service, and the quality of food on the menu tickets to Next are more than worth the money for any food enthusiast. We cannot wait to go back here but our bank account can.

Diner’s Favourites:

Gemelli with Sardines – This was by far the favourite pasta dish. Crispy fried golden fennel and perfectly cooked sardines with a beautiful sauce was a mouth watering and memorable experience.

Roasted Pork Shoulder – The pork shoulder was so perfectly executed that you’ll wonder how such an incredibly tender piece of meat is even possible. Accompanied by a sauce made of tomatoes and reduced renderings, this dish was incredible.

Diner’s Thoughts:

Taster Girl

 I could write a one word review for this place: Wow.

. . . I’ll elaborate. The menu changes regularly, so I can mention specific dishes that I loved (particularly the lemony chickpea dish, the sardine pasta, and the cassata) but they won’t be around in 2 months time. What I’m sure won’t change from theme to theme is the high quality of ingredients used in the dishes as well as the skill of the chefs to turn those ingredients into the best meal of your life.

I don’t talk about service a lot but at Next the attentive and unpretentious service is worth the ticket price alone. I took an immediate liking to every server I encountered here. I kept thinking about how hard it must be for them to spend all night making every individual patron feel like the most important person in the room (especially when many of those patrons already feel that they are the most important person in the room) and yet they do it so naturally and effortlessly that you leave the place convinced that you meant something to them. It’s unbelievable.

Taster

I’ve been to a few fine dining restaurants, but nothing of this calibre. The whole experience was costly but amazing. However, I knew the price of $300 ahead of time so it wasn’t a “heart attack after receiving the bill.” In fact, we had the tickets for two whole months before we even set foot in the restaurant.We originally paid for the meal with water service, and table was to be ready for 10:30. However, our table wasn’t ready until 11:00 so the hostess took us on a tour Grant Achatz’s Aviary bar next door and the kitchen of both The Aviary and Next. After waiting another 15 minutes for the table, they gave us free wine pairing with our meal to make up our wait! The wine was perfectly matched with our dishes; I feel so bad for us having to wait.

Every dish was perfectly executed, but the best dish of the evening was the Roasted Pork Shoulder which was cured for hours before it was actually cooked. I cannot wait to try another menu from Achatz’s superb restaurant experience – Next Restaurant

Recommendation: If you can afford it since it can cost two people upwards of $500, you should go here.

UberGamer I cannot afford this restaurant! I rather play guild wars 2 beta weekends – and I did.
The Philosopher The true existential question here is whether or not the restaurant truly exists if one cannot find the door.

Image Gallery

  • Super Secret Door - Can you see the Next Sicily on the door?
  • Aviary's Bar - Not Restaurant prep, Bar Prep
  • Next's Super Calm Kitchen
  • Check out the Spice Rack in the Back
  • Not So Secret Menu Now, Is It?
  • Next's Beautiful Dining Area
  • Beautiful Plates
  • Arancine
  • Caponata
  • Charred Artichoke
  • Panelle
  • Bucatini with Bottarga
  • Gemelli with Sardines
  • Swordfish with Roasted Garlic and Mint
  • A mix of boiled and fried chickpeas with a lemon dressing
  • Roasted Pork Shoulder
  • Zucchini and Zucchini Flowers in a Tomato Vinaigrette
  • Blood Orange Granita
  • Cassata
  • Cannoli, Ravioli Fritti, and Sesame Honey Cookies


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