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It seems that Grant Achatz and the team at Next have struck again, this time with a vegan based offering.
The Next restaurant in Chicago operates with 3-month menu offerings that follow different themes. So far, the restaurant has held Japanese tasting menus, a homage to elBulli and most recently The Hunt - a game and meat based dinner.
Now, shifting to the opposite end of the dining spectrum, Achatz and co have crafted a 20-course vegan tasting menu that begins by posing diners the question: What if meat did not exist? Or fish? What would be the focus point of a dish?
From there, the Next team set about doing what they do best by creation a vegan feast to completely blow any preconceptions held about veg being a mear side dish. Flowers made from kale and filled with avocado and lime puree, dishes that tell the story and life cycle of apple, curry roasted cauliflower, sweet potato nests finished with bourbon marshmallows - a truly unique offering and one that follows a trend predicted by Rene Redzepi when an FDL video interview back in 2012, the Nordic chef claiming that vegetables would soon take center stage as the lead guitarists on the plate.
The vegan menu received a four star review from Phil Vettel at the Chicago Tribune, who said, "Nothing, not even the vegetable tasting menus that Charlie Trotter offered during his long career, compares to the Vegan menu currently featured at Next. In more than 20 courses across four hours, Next dazzles diners with one inventive vegan creation after another.
"People who are vegetarians or vegans probably believe they have an idea of what to expect. They’re wrong. All the usual vegetable suspects, all the easy choices are either absent or invisible here. Hummus? Humbug. Tofu? Fleetingly present in a couple of dishes, but so low-key you could easily miss it."
For more details on the food you can read the rest of Phil Vettel's Next's Vegan Menu review and for now, here's a selection of pictures from some of the lucky dinners who have sampled the herbivorous chow down.
@labrabbitoptics A scene from last night's #vegan dinner at
@Heccy42 - Nori dumplings and earl grey rambutan shooters.
@heccy42 Curry roasted cauliflower with harissa
@carolinejnovak Amaze! #foodporn #next #nextrestaurant