Thursday, December 1, 2011

This week in Food & Drink

Posted By on 12.01.11 at 11:15 AM

For the third time this year, Mike Sula reviews Next, the celebrated time-traveling, globe-hopping restaurant from Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas. The theme for its present incarnation is Childhood, and Achatz and executive chef Dave Beran have devised a number of ways to put an Alinea-like spin on kiddie standards such as PB&J and Campbell's chicken noodle soup. The seventh of ten courses comes in a retro lunch box—Smurfs, Alf, Knight Rider—and consists of a thermos full of mixed berry juice and port, a black-and-white truffle Oreo, an apple brandy-port fruit rollup, a plug of Wagyu beef jerky, a house-made Funyun, pudding, and a handwritten note that might read "Enjoy your lovely lunch that I made. Study hard and stay awake! Love, Dad."

But Sula was perhaps most impressed with more abstract courses such as the "Autumn Scene," which he describes as "a salad of roasted mushrooms and fried carrot (log), chard (leaves) and leeks (hay), and creamy polenta boulders rolled in powdered puffed black rice and mushroom powder (dirt) and fattened by mushroom-butter puree, all garnished with nasturtium, sorrel, sage, and thyme." It's plated on glass over a hollowed half log filled with earthy aromatics like chestnuts and hay.

Autumn Scene

In Key Ingredient, chef Rodney Staton of the forthcoming "chef-driven sports bar" the Ogden, made "agnolotti" by turning his challenge, calves' liver, into liver mousse and stuffing it in a wrapper of fried chicken skin. He then plated the bundles with red pearl onions, potato-leek puree, and a house-made saba reduction. The sweetness of the last "helps with the flavor of the liver," Staton said. Next up is Duncan Biddulph of Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar, working with . . . cod milt, the male genitalia of the fish, including the semen.

In the listings are 13 places that, unlike Next, are kid friendly, among them Edzo's Burger Shop, Glenn's Diner, and Roots Handmade Pizza.

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