Chicago’s NEXT Restaurant Goes Hollywood! A Delicious Ode To The Magic Of The Movies!

Time To Celebrate Movies – In A Delicious Way!

Yes, a dish that pays homage to the “yellow brick road” in “The Wizard Of Oz”, and how about a cannoli from “The Godfather?”

Welcome To Hollywood’s Glorious Past – Thanks To NEXT Restaurant In Chicago!

NEXT restaurant is the brainchild of Acclaimed Chefs Grant Achatz, Jenner Tomaska and Ed Tinoco…three times a year, a brand new menu full of imagination and inspiration is served in this great Chicago restaurant – and this week, they unveiled “Next Restaurant Presents Hollywood!”

Here is the trailer they released to promote the menu – done with a classic Hollywood style:

That’s me outside the restaurant – a cheap selfie to get us going!

When you enter the restaurant, there is a red carpet that takes you to your table – where in true “Hollywood” style, a “screenplay” from Chefs Grant Achatz and Jenner Tomaska awaits:

The menu is presented as a long list of movies, with no mention of the food for each – but don’t worry, this is so the magic isn’t ruined – a more complete list of items is given to you at the end of the night…

Now, onto the food! It’s impossible to give a detailed account of all of the courses – there are simply too many – but here are some highlights:

“Gone With The Wind!”

Right away, a film canister is presented – with a caviar bite that has the word “DAMN” on it – because “Gone With The Wind” was the first movie that was allowed to use that “dirty” word! It’s served with champagne and is a perfect way to start the night!

A series of items inspired by “The Breakfast Club” are next – bites of bento and mini-sandwiches like this one:

“What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate!”

This iconic line is from “Cool Hand Luke”, a film where Paul Newman attempts to eat fifty hard-boiled eggs – here at Next, they just give you one – an egg with an “edible” shell filled with trout roe, kiwi, young coconut and turnip!

Here is how you “crack open” your dish:

As you can see, each dish is an elaborate presentation, but remember, they are all small bites – so while they are full of incredible flavor – you can make it through all 17 bites without getting too full!

“We’re Off To See The Wizard!”

Next up is a fave bean and romanesco salad, with a golden raisin “yellow brick road” – and in another meticulous attention to detail, the napkin under the plate is made from the same fabric as Dorothy’s dress!

Time To Head Underwater!

Next up is a celebration of the classic adventure “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea” – a dish of Octopus and Scallop, presented this way:

The octopus and scallop were smoky good – as you can see!

Science fiction is next, presented three ways: first, you get frog with ethiopian spices and yellow split pea – served on a “Star Wars” blaster:

You are also served a “Jurassic Park” boneyard, with a small Jamon, Madiera and Brioche bite:

Finally, you get served a luminous bowl with chopsticks perched atop it – with noodles, duck and pickled ginger – an homage to “Blade Runner”!

“Leave The Gun – Take The Cannoli!”

The greatest film of all time is next.

According to movie legend, Actor Richard Castellano, who played “Clemenza” in “The Godfather”, ad-libbed this line while filming the scene where a driver is killed for setting up Don Corleone for an assassination attempt.

I enjoyed this amazing meal with my wife, Alex. She is eagerly awaiting the description of our “Godfather” meal. A box is set in front of you – and inside is a savory cannoli – topped with a small “salad” of micro greens:

Just as in the film, you eat the cannoli but leave the fun – because after you take a bite, this is what sits underneath your food:

Yes, “leave the gun, take the cannoli!” Clemenza also cooked in the film – a massive pot of meatballs. See Clemenza’s recipe – that you can make at home – here:

For their celebration of horror, NEXT presents you with a sliced smoked pork neck – but then so much more:

Of course, they have a very unique way to finish off this “horrific” dish – here is a video showing how I added the “horror sauce” to the dish:

The Pulp Fiction “Big Kahuna” Burger!

This Bulgogi wagyu beef presentation is inspired by Quentin Tarantino’s “Big Kahuna Burger” – shown in “Pulp Fiction” but a fictional burger! To see how they re-imagined it, check out the presentation on my video, where our server describes the dish!

The onion ring finishes it off on a high note…we still have several other dishes to go – including a fun homage to “Honey, I Shrunk The Kids!”

Yes, a magnifying glass is brought to the table and a bite of foie gras with chamomile and sunflower is set underneath – a terrific bite to end the savory courses!

Desserts are an homage to Marie Antoinette and Forrest Gump”, because “life is like a box of….”

I had to skip a few of the courses – there was just too much to explain! Once again, Chefs Grant Achatz, Jenner Tomaska and Ed Tinoco presented an amazingly creative ode to film – bravo!

This is just the latest culinary magic from the team at Next – I was there in January when they highlighted the cuisine of Ancient Rome:

Yes they enjoyed Shrimp in ancient times, and this one, with crushed pistachio coating, was a gorgeous looking dish that was delicious as well…see more of my visit here:

Chef Achte also runs Chicago’s 3-Michelin starred Alinea, which offers up an edible helium balloon as a dessert:

Take a look at their amazing culinary magic here:

The Hollywood menu runs into August, so if you are in Chicago, make sure to go down this delicious yellow brick road!

Categories: Art, Awards, Books / Media, chicago, cookbooks, Exotic Travel, Food, food blog, Food Review, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Memoirs, Recipes, Restaurants, Technology, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir, Wacky Food, wine

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9 replies

  1. I’m sitting on my hands to keep from scrolling through your post. I’m flying in from NY for dinner on Saturday, and I’ve already peeked at too many spoilers. Can’t wait for my first Achatz experience!

  2. Great post! Going tonight. Making post dinner plans…how long should I expect to enjoy Next?

  3. I really enjoyed this detailed look at your magical food evening, John. Amazing presentation of imaginative dishes. I can only imagine the wallet-busting bill for that feast too! Not something for an old guy living on two pensions, I suspect.
    Best wishes, Pete.


  1. Chicago’s Incredible Roister! Brined Fried Chicken Sandwich! Amazing Fried Bologna Sandwich! Chef Grant Achatz Goes Casual! – johnrieber
  2. NEXT Restaurant’s Delicious Tribute To The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017! – johnrieber

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