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#10
Posted July 5th 2011, 7:53pm
My hopes for the next menu (no pun intended) are that they can be a little more consistent ( I went on consecutive nights with vastly different results) and that they can keep the salt levels down. I will probably give it a shot on one night, of course it will probably be from someone else's reservation as I still awaiting my first invitation even though I signed up practically the first day. :twisted:
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#11
Posted July 5th 2011, 8:32pm
JoelF wrote: Next's is "Thai Street Food 2060" or something like that. Time travel is expensive.


to be fair, once there you can pick up a sports almanac to make your trip worth it.
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#12
Posted July 5th 2011, 8:38pm
Allow me to dissent and express my excitement with the planned menu. First, please note that not everything in Thailand is funky and by designing a "Bangkok" menu, I believe Next has given itself some liberty to bring together all of Thailand's flavors and even flavors from surrounding countries . . . much as Bangkok does with its cuisine. Bangkok is an incredible melting pot of flavors.

All that being said, several of the dishes really excite me just from the description. I want to test their fermented sausage and compare it to what I've eaten both in Chicago and in Thailand. The salted egg dish should bring in da funk, seemingly in a som tam fashion. And there are two curries on the menu. And just knowing the creative team at work here tells me that the food will likely be greater than the sum of its parts . . . the Paris menu did that for me.

So I'm pretty pumped to give the Bangkok menu a try. If Arun's was playing more with its flavors and ingredients, and less with the shapes of carrot and pepper garnishes, I'd be more willing to return.
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#13
Posted July 5th 2011, 9:01pm
I have had reservations about Next taking on Thai food not just because the best Thai food I have ever had (or could ever hope to have) was from some nameless food stall on Sukhumvit Rd in Bangkok where I brought my own fork and spoon, but also because Chicago has spectacular Thai restaurants (with Thai chefs cooking) like Aroy Thai, TAC Quick and Spoon Thai which I think are hard to surpass.

I've been following Grant Achatz's Twitter feed though where he has been posting photos from the practice dinner tonight, and my apprehensions have lessened a bit. I've seen family-style service, fork and spoon silverware (and no chopsticks), and beautifully composed dishes which hopefully balances authenticity with interpretation and re-envision. I'm looking forward to trying the menu. I went to Paris 1906, and although I thought it was a splendid meal, I was less enthusiastic about it then some other people I know who went to it as well.

Based on the photos, I don't think Arun's is the apt comparison, more like Bangkok's Bo.Lan or Nahm (and I guess some media outlet reported that Dave Beran was seen lugging around David Thompson's cookbook. Thompson owns Nahm in London and Bangkok).
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#14
Posted July 5th 2011, 10:58pm
The photos are quite tempting ... and I kept grinning at the last two with the coconut ...

I'm not sure that the point of Next is to compete with <name your favorite Chicago or elsewhere Thai> but for us to get to see what Achatz and team make of the flavors ... I like the idea of that team having a play with a different cuisine and letting us taste the results.
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#15
Posted July 6th 2011, 6:01am
JoelF wrote:
Vitesse98 wrote:I've never been to Arun's and am sort of ambivalent of going to Next's version of Arun's. Especially given the number of incredible untried Thai dishes I can get around the city for the price of a ticket.

Arun's goal is high-end Thai.
Next's is "Thai Street Food 2060" or something like that. Time travel is expensive.


I haven't found a specific reference to time coordinates for this trip. At some point I think I heard about "Hong Kong, 2025," but this Thai menu seems not (at least based on what I've read so far) to be linked to a historical period.
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#16
Posted July 6th 2011, 7:55am
David Hammond wrote: . . . this Thai menu seems not (at least based on what I've read so far) to be linked to a historical period.

I recall it being called Bangkok 2060 . . . not sure if that's still what it's being called. But when I dined there for the Paris menu, Chef Dave said that the reference to 2060 was intended to give them some creative liberty with the concept and flavors. I have no idea whether the menu is also intended to reflect some other specific Thai menu of any historical significance.
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#17
Posted July 6th 2011, 8:36am
Hey, there's no reason to believe that food in Bangkok will be any more different in a mere 50 years than it's different now from food in Bangkok 50 years ago. It's not like suddenly street vendors will be selling condensed food pills or whatever.
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#18
Posted July 6th 2011, 9:26am
Siun wrote:The photos are quite tempting ... and I kept grinning at the last two with the coconut ...

I'm not sure that the point of Next is to compete with <name your favorite Chicago or elsewhere Thai> but for us to get to see what Achatz and team make of the flavors ... I like the idea of that team having a play with a different cuisine and letting us taste the results.


This sentiment is the exact reason why tickets for this season will sell out as fast as Paris or faster in my opinion. It doesn't matter if you don't necessarily care for Thai food or you will never go out of your way to get it, people want to eat it because Grant Achatz made/designed/conceptualized it.

There is nothing wrong with this reasoning, I just think it's something worth pointing out when people say that Thai is not going to attract the same attention as Paris.

And I think it was Bangkok 2032 :lol:
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#19
Posted July 6th 2011, 9:35am
I really admire those who can critique food before it is served. :)
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#20
Posted July 6th 2011, 9:49am
Hi... thought I could answer a few questions and comments on here.

First, we have *never* said we were doing future Thai food. Our original 'trailer' announcing Next in 2009 had a number of potential fun menus, one of which was Hong Kong 2036. I am not sure why the press says we are doing Bangkok 2060 or whatever, but we never said that. In fact, the trailer also has menus like "Tokyo Edo Period", "The Veneto", some of which we may do, but in fact we probably won't. They were meant as suggestions of the type of restaurant we were trying to build.

This menu is called "Tour of Thailand" and draws from different regions and traditions in Thailand. It is far from comprehensive -- that would be impossible. It is a composition of dishes that go well together and that Dave and Grant were attracted to for flavor, aesthetics, menu flow, and seasonally available ingredients.

When studying Asian cuisines including Japanese and Thai we found that recipes are well documented going back a very long time. This largely contrasts with the western tradition of constant change and innovation. Ideally, eating a Kaiseki meal in Kyoto in the Spring is very much the same now as it was long ago. Similarly with Thai food, we were drawn to traditions that have a long foundation. Therefore a date seemed inappropriate and I agree with Vitesse98's comment that 50 years from now Bangkok street food will likely be unchanged. Which is great.

As for the cost... we have taken the same approach to creating and sourcing this menu as we do to a meal at Alinea or the Paris 1906 menu at Next. Starting 2 months ago our team began sourcing exceptionally high quality ingredients. I know from the cost of these ingredients that the criticism that you could try 'an incredible number of Thai dishes around the city for the price of a ticket' is simply impossible. Yes, you could buy dishes with the same names... but there is no way the product is the same.

Paris 1906 averaged roundly $ 85 per person for food. Thai will be in a similar spot and the aggregate food cost of the two menus is within a few percentage points of each other. The low end will be $ 65, the high $110 on Friday / Saturday at 7:30 PM.

Beverage pairings will be interesting and fun -- punches, beer (including, soon, a custom brew), wine and other elixirs appropriate for the food and the season.

Happy to answer any further questions....
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#21
Posted July 6th 2011, 9:51am
When do tickets go on sale?
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#22
Posted July 6th 2011, 9:59am
We have uploaded a software update to a test server... this should address some of the tech issues that users have complained about -- though not the major one of tickets going faster than clicks.

Likely we will sell the first weekend of tickets tomorrow, then follow that with the rest of the season.
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#23
Posted July 6th 2011, 10:17am
nick.kokonas wrote:We have uploaded a software update to a test server... this should address some of the tech issues that users have complained about -- though not the major one of tickets going faster than clicks.

Likely we will sell the first weekend of tickets tomorrow, then follow that with the rest of the season.

Slightly different than the FB post...

Tickets will likely go on sale for Friday through Sunday tomorrow afternoon. We will follow with the rest of the season shortly thereafter. We have made an update and improvements to the software and hope that the user experience has greater clarity -- though if it goes as quickly as Paris that creates frustration that we cannot alleviate.
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#24
Posted July 6th 2011, 10:21am
TCK - you ignore the option that people may care a lot about Thai, go out of their way to get it but *also* enjoy seeing what these particular chefs do with it. It's not an either/or situation at all ... and instead I see it as another way to honor the genre.
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#25
Posted July 6th 2011, 10:22am
Nick - I was actually curious if you were going to have a shellfill-free option for those of us with allergies for the Thai menu as you did the Paris 1906?

I know there are a lot of bases that contain shellfish products, so it may not be as simple of a switch as just changing the main protein. If you do, this could be beyond wonderful for those of us who have to avoid a lot of Asian kitchens for safety reasons.

Thank you!
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#26
Posted July 6th 2011, 10:24am
@RachaelRachatz: Last night I perfected 30 min Tom Yum Soup, plus I developed a cheap coconut serving piece trick that'll blow people's minds. Suck it Arun.
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#27
Posted July 6th 2011, 10:29am
Siun wrote:TCK - you ignore the option that people may care a lot about Thai, go out of their way to get it but *also* enjoy seeing what these particular chefs do with it. It's not an either/or situation at all ... and instead I see it as another way to honor the genre.


I didn't mean to insinuate it was an either/or situation. In fact, I'd put myself in the exact camp that you are describing.
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#28
Posted July 6th 2011, 10:36am
Thanks for the info Nick. Looking forward to touring Thailand!

Any info on the Kitchen Table? How many courses? Are there going to be two seatings per night?
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#29
Posted July 6th 2011, 10:55am
K.D. wrote:Nick - I was actually curious if you were going to have a shellfill-free option for those of us with allergies for the Thai menu as you did the Paris 1906?

I know there are a lot of bases that contain shellfish products, so it may not be as simple of a switch as just changing the main protein. If you do, this could be beyond wonderful for those of us who have to avoid a lot of Asian kitchens for safety reasons.

Thank you!


Per Next Restaurant (via facebook):
This menu will only accommodate: Gluten Free / Dairy Free / Red Meat Free. So pescatarians will be fine but full vegetarians will not. Nearly every dish has some sort of fish product in it or the sauce. We want to stay true to the cuisine that we are serving while accommodating what we can without having to redo an entire menu.

(ETA: found the original post by Next)
Last edited by danimalarkey on July 6th 2011, 10:59am, edited 1 time in total.
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#30
Posted July 6th 2011, 10:56am
Sorry -- due to the nature of the cuisine and the bases for the sauces and garnishes Shellfish free is not an option.

Kitchen table is an expanded menu -- not sure exactly how many extra courses because I am not sure how exactly to count courses in this menu... many items come out in succession. It is similar to Paris 1906 where there are expanded full courses and some extras within both the street food and during the courses around the rice.

This time we are doing two KT seatings per night after the first week or so... 5:30 and 9:30 most likely.
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#31
Posted July 6th 2011, 11:36pm
mattshafferHP wrote:My hopes for the next menu (no pun intended) are that they can be a little more consistent ( I went on consecutive nights with vastly different results) and that they can keep the salt levels down. I will probably give it a shot on one night, of course it will probably be from someone else's reservation as I still awaiting my first invitation even though I signed up practically the first day. :twisted:


I also noticed some things were done differently on different nights. However, considering how quick each menu changes, the team might want to experiment a little before the season is over??? I did however think the food was consistently good! :D
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#32
Posted July 7th 2011, 9:07am
I'm not a huge fine dining kind of guy, but the Thai menu intrigues me, so I hope to give it a shot.
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#33
Posted July 7th 2011, 9:26am
Anyone know for sure if tickets for the first weekend go on sale today? Will it be at 10 am? Thanks in advance.
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#34
Posted July 7th 2011, 10:30am
From their FB page...

we will announce on here when they go on sale for this weekend. we made some software upgrades behind the scenes and want to make sure that everything is working properly on the server so we avoid the issues we had last time. I apologize for the delay... will likely be this afternoon. But I assure you we will announce at least an hour before.

and again...

We will sell this weekend, then sell the rest of the season. We will announce on here when we will do that. I wish I could be more specific, but in order to plan the sale we need to get feedback from our service and kitchen teams as to the ideal timing for the seatings. Once we have that we will let it fly.... but give notice on here beforehand.
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#35
Posted July 7th 2011, 12:21pm
Thanks for the direction, CC: I guess facebook is the place to check for an update about when this afternoon.
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#36
Posted July 7th 2011, 3:41pm
Their website has shifted to the Thai theme. Not sure if they started selling tickets or are sold out or what?
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#37
Posted July 7th 2011, 3:42pm
I don't think tickets have been sold yet. I'd imagine they will sometime this evening as to allow those who are can't access the site at work a fair shot at trying to get them.

edit: this was posted as I was typing my reply...

OK... 4:45 PM we will sell THIS WEEKEND ONLY. Please be aware, there are lots of people logged in already and we only have about 25 tables per night to sell. We have improved the ticket selection process -- if someone grabs a table before you and then you click on it, it selects the next available and a pop up will let you know that it has done it.
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#38
Posted July 7th 2011, 4:53pm
Not surprisingly, when I was finally able to get to the site at 4:50, the first group of tickets were gone.
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#39
Posted July 7th 2011, 4:56pm
as long as the url still ends in /sold_out, someone hasn't completed a purchase. I actually just got the calendar to load again because the 10 minutes ended for someone. When it changes to /no_purchasing, that means all transactions have been complete.

We can't even go this weekend, I am just a glutton for punishment.
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