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Grant Achatz needs no introduction. The chef has helmed what is arguably the greatest restaurant in America since its 2005 opening (just watch the first episode of Chef’s Table season two…there are no words). Alinea has received every accolade going (including a whopping three Michelin stars) but, awards aside, this thoroughly modern restaurant’s greatest success is remaining open (and packed to the rafters) for over a decade. Spaced out across a few floors, the beauty of Alinea is choice—sixteen to eighteen courses on the first floor, a more subdued ten courses on the second (wine pairings available with both). The cuisine is on the experimental end which means lots of foam, the odd sprinkling of molecular dust, and a heavy dose of nostalgia mingled with modernity. The perfect example of a signature Alinea dish is the translucent pumpkin pie: that sweet, spiced pumpkin pie flavor distilled into clear gelatin and poured into a tradition pie crust—genius. A recent shake-up means that executive chef Mike Bagale is moving on and veteran staffer Simon Davies—who started in the restaurant as an intern over nine years ago—is taking the reigns. And finally, last year’s renovation (aside from knocking down a few walls) meant the freed-up staff travelled the world for gastronomic inspiration—the new menu packs a nuanced, flavorful punch, and the space is a pleasure all its own. (Reservations open the fifteenth of each month.)

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