On the table: Next and Aviary, two new restaurants from the Alinea crew
If you don't get it from the trailer, the FAQ explains: "Next Restaurant will serve four menus per year from great moments in culinary history – or the future." It's also not your average restaurant. No reservations; instead, tickets. (You can sign up to be on the mailing list for alerts when tickets are available.) This is a rad, but not out-of-nowhere, concept. At dinner at Alinea this past January, there was one course that really stood out to me: a recreation of a classic Escoffier dish that went beyond the food itself, extending to the vintage serving pieces and presentation. (If you scroll down in this post from Ronnie_Suburban on LthForum.com, you can see pictures of the goblet, silverware and trout dish that recreated the old-world environment. There's also some more information about the development of this dish on the AlineaMosaic forum.) The concept of making dining not just about going to another place (like, Mexico or India) but to another time period is pretty exciting. Especially at the surprisingly reasonable price-point (at least compared to a tasting menu at Alinea): According to the site, "Food will be $40 to $75 for the entire prix-fixe menu. Wine and beverage pairings will begin at a $25 supplement."
But that's not all. Word has been out for a while that the Alinea folks had plans for a bar. All that was known about this up to this point was that it would not be called Boom. Now we know: It will be called Aviary. In typically elliptical fashion, here's the description from the site: "The Aviary is neither a bar nor a lounge exactly." Meaning...."We will have chefs and a kitchen producing drinks," which will be available as part of an alcohol tasting menu. There will also be food to pair with the drinks, and unlike Next, Aviary will be walk-in only.
ETA? Fall 2010. Follow @nextrestaurant and @aviarycocktails (or @TOCEatOut) for updates.