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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3 replies

  1. 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.

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