Next restaurant

Next Restaurant, Paris 1906

It was exactly a week ago when I was lucky enough to experience Next restaurant for their Escoffier at the Ritz menu, Paris, circa 1906. It was the kind of meal that more than met every expectation I had formed from the hype, and bits and pieces of the tasting menu continued to pop into my head all week long. Was that blue foot chicken we ate? How did they fill a perfect circle-center of toasted bread with foie gras? Did they really use an antique duck press to make gravy? Will I ever get to try truffle-topped egg custard foam that again, ever? It was sinking in. The eight-course meal was fantastic, and while my photos, of course, don’t do the experience justice, I’ve posted the lot below. People asked me if the servers dressed in clothes from the era (no), if the restaurant design went back in time too (uh, no). If it was super-formal (surprisingly no). The space is chic, low-key, modern and beautifully lit. Servers wore modern garb, explained everything in fascinating detail and were refreshingly funny and light-hearted. A kitchen tour punctuated the evening (no shots there, sorry!) and a failed attempt at getting into the connecting Aviary bar, but what came before was pure brilliance. Rumors of Asian Street food circa the 2050s have swirled for the next menu, but the kitchen staff was pretty tight-lipped. They are beginning to toy with spices and flavors of the future, but for now (or the next two months)..it’s all about classic escoffier dishes…
We started with the gougères, the original “cheese puff” said our waiter, and they were just that, warm and crunchy on the outside, gooey on the inside.

Gougerès


Next came the stunning hor’s d’oeuvres tray. Presented as a homage to buffet and tray-style dining of the time, it was filled with tiny bites of quail eggs with anchovy, brioche with foie gras and apricot jam, crackers topped with pork rillettes, and that egg I mentioned before. A hallowed out egg was filled with a warm, rich and wonderful egg custard topped with truffle. We wanted to lick the shell..and have seconds. And the combination of sweet apricot jam smothered over foie gras stuffed brioche pretty much put us over the edge.

Hors d'oeuvres tray


Next came a lovely turtle soup, a dish I hadn’t had before that was a like a light but meaty and flavorful consommé.

Turtle soup


The following course celebrated the sea, and crayfish, with a crayfish-stuffed mushroom, delicate perfect piece of sole, sole roe and a sole-stuffed crayfish all resting in a rich, briney sauce normande we quickly sopped up with housemade bread served on the side.

Filet de Sole Daumont


The suprêmes de poussin was next, a beautiful, juicy triangle of blue foot chicken with an almost poached cucumber maki stuffed with chicken mousse. I truly love a good piece of chicken, and this course took poultry to a whole new juicy level, so much so it almost overpowered the cucumber bites.

Supremes de poussin


After a lovely piece of chicken, we were ready for the a stunning piece of duck, or leg and sliced, fanned-out breast for which the duck sauce was churned from the whole duck (bones and all) out of an antique duck press. Each juicy, intense slice melted in our mouths, and the fall-of-the-bone leg meat was divine, and a fragrant bunch of thyme sprigs tied everything together.

Caneton rouennais à la presse


Along with the duck came the most luscious combination of cheese and a pile of thinly sliced potatoes I’ve ever experienced. Gruyère cheese was the star of the ultra-rich dish topped with a layer of perfect golden crunch conducive to a cold Chicago spring.

Gratin de pommes de Terra a la Dauphinoise


Chicken, foie gras, duck, potatoes and cheese..no one said classic French cuisine was light. A palate-cleansing Salade Irma came next with asparagus, greens and a nasturtium blossom.

Salad Irma


It was the perfect segueway into dessert, a light, refreshing bombe ceylan with a cocoa shell, and frosty hint of mint and coffee, cookie bottom and rum-soaked cherries. It was fresh, light, slightly unexpected, and had all the right textures.

Bombe Ceylan


The meal ended with mignardise, our favorite being the salted caramels and beet jellies served on an elegant silver tray..the perfect way to end a legendary meal I will never forget. Now to see what year, city and flavor adventure the team has planned next…Next, 953 W. Fulton Market

Mignardise

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5 Comments

Filed under great for date, new restaurants

5 responses to “Next restaurant

  1. Wow, lucky gal. What a great experience, thanks for sharing it.

  2. What strikes me in everyone’s photos is how the experience is almost exactly the same. I know it’s a set menu and I should expect that, but still…

  3. Wow! The meal sounds delicious! How did you find out about it?

  4. Hello XMI, I started hearing about Next last year, and couldn’t wait to get in. When I had a chance to get tickets, I jumped on them! It was an awesome experience. If you are ever in Chicago, I recommend a visit!

  5. Pingback: Next restaurant: Thailand | ELIZABITES

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