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Finally, the upcoming menus at Grant Achatz's restaurant Next in Chicago won't be a secret. Although we got used to the thrill of anticipation, never knowing what to expect from the rotating menu, it's exciting to know what the restaurant has in store for 2014.
''We put in a great deal of time and thought into a mix of culinary innovation, exploration, and nostalgia. We think that the 2014 season will yield up many surprises and push the boundaries of what we have done thus far,'' the restaurant's Facebook page tells fans.
Here's the lowdown on the new menus at Next for 2014:
January - April 2014
First up will be the much-awaited Chicago Steak menu, which is a throwback to the era of luxury and indulgence in the 1950s steakhouse.
The menu will feature steakhouse classics like oysters Rockefeller and lobster thermidor with a molecular twist along with elaborate decor, big music and smiles.''Chicago Steak will marry the simple and delicious with wonderfully sourced ingredients, modern techniques, and an old-world vibe. Expect a party,'' a press release explains.
During the summer, the restaurant will offer a Chinese: Modern menu. Although Next previously dipped into Asian flavors with their Kaseki menu last fall, the Chinese menu promises to be a collision of ''a thousand year-old cuisine with the mind-set of innovation.''
Diners can expect Chinese takeout classics like noodles, buns, dumplings, pork, seafood and poultry in small bites. But heed the warning: ''While we honor the ingredients and traditions, we will bring a unique Modernist attitude to this menu. Recognizably Chinese.... recognizably Next.''
Last but not least, Next will finish off the year with their Trio 2004 menu. The menu is a tip of the hat to the founding of Alinea, the restaurant that shot Achatz to fame. The Trio 2004 menu will honor Alinea's upcoming 10th anniversary and the dishes that put Achatz on the map.
Diners will be treated to a blast from the past: the Tour de Force Menu that Achatz served to business partner Nick Kokonas on January 20, 2004. That was the meal that got the ball rolling on the idea of creating Alinea. The menu promises to ''transport diners back to a great time in chef Achatz's career."
The restaurant has also announced there will be no vegetarian options for Chicago Steak or Trio 2004. However, it remains to be seen whether the Chinese Modern menu will offer vegetarian-friendly fare. For reservations, visit www.nextrestaurant.com.