Two nights ago I had the rare opportunity to photograph the inner workings of the Alinea kitchen with the staff and menu from Eleven Madison Park. They are calling the restaurant switch 21st Century Unlimited named after the old Twentieth Century Limited train that ran from New York to Chicago. Chef Grant Achatz and Chef Daniel Humm were gracious enough to have me hover in the kitchen while they performed magic. Here are a bunch of photos from the evening. The sold out special event costs $495.00 per plate and by the taste of it, it is well worth the expense. For more images and descriptions check out Time Out Chicago. Course 1 | Sea-urchin custard with seafood ragu and sweet baby shrimpChef Daniel Humm and Chef Grant Achatz standing in front of their Michelin StarsCourse 2 |Cranberry gelee with housemade ricottaCourse 3 | Cucumber "snow with pickled cucumber, demi sec grapes and yuzu yogurt Course 4 | Eel Foie Gras : foie gras terrine with an eel tuile, topped with swiss chard Course 5 | Sturgeon Course, part one: Sturgeon sabayonCourse 6 | The complete sturgeon course, part two: The smoked sturgeon served with baby gem lettuce, soft-poached quail eggs, pickled onions, everything bagel "crumble", toasted rye crisps, cream cheese topped with caviar and dill pickles. Course 7 | Breads and butters: A laminated butter roll with goat's-milk butter, cow's-milk butter and Long Island sea salt. Course 8 | Roasted and raw beets, served with horseradish and a rye crumbleCourse 9 | Carrot Tartare: For this course, carrots are ground tableside, and guests are offered nine different garnishes with which to flavor it.Course 10 | Butter-poached lobster with meyer lemon, charred leeks, and a black shellfish bisqueCourse 11 | Clam Bake: In the teapot is a truffled clam velouté. In the bowl is celery root, lentil granola, pickled chanterelle mushrooms, sea beans and a clam vinaigrette. On the longer plate: a nori madeleine. Course 12 | Roasted suckling pig with plum and kale in several forms: Plum purée, seared plums, baby kale leaves, fried kale, kale purée and some bone marrow.
The "kitchen cocktail- Manhattan" course is so-called because at Eleven Madison Park, it really is made for guests in the kitchen. Here, it's made tableside.
Course 13 | "Milk and Honey": a dome of milk sorbet with honey inside. When the dome is broken, the honey oozes out. Also on the plate: dehydrated milk, milk "snow" and bee pollen.Course 14 | Cheesecake with huckleberry and limeEleven Madison Park's now-famous card trick begins the chocolate course.The final bite: More black and white cookies. This time, they are traditional black-and-whites, and served with all you can drink apple brandy.