Saturday night, Chris and I were invited to join our friends, Kim and Jeff, to dine at Next. If you haven’t heard of Next – you obviously don’t live in Chicago. Haha. (Chicago’s food scene is another level.) Next comes from the same restaurant group as Alinea, which has been named the best restaurant in America four times, has 3 Michelin Stars (only 13 restaurants in America have this), and is ranked #15 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016. While not as decorated as Alinea, Next won the James Beard Award for the Best New Restaurant in America.
Chris and I have dined at Next several times, but what keeps this restaurant interesting is that they completely change their menu and theme four times a year. You go to Next for the experience. I promise you, you’ve never had a complete dining experience until you’ve been here.
The current theme is called Hollywood and will be running until August 13. The cost varies from $115 – $145 per person + libations. We ordered the standard drink pairing package for $95 per person.
If you plan on visiting Next, you should consider making a reservation at The Aviary for a cocktail before dinner. If you’re feeling SUPER fancy, you should try to make a reservation at The Office. The Aviary is located right next door and The Office is directly below it.
We started our night at The Office. As soon as you walk in, you feel as if you’ve walked into someone’s luxury den. The room is small and there are only a few club chairs, a couch, and a table. We were seated on the couch. The waiter quickly explained the drink menu, but they are more known for creating custom cocktails based on your personal tastes. Before he walked away, he said, “If you need to leave to use the restroom, there are keys on top of the bookshelf. Be sure to grab one as the door will lock behind you.” I mean… I’ve heard of keys to get you into the bathroom, but how exclusive is that?! You need a key to get back into the bar!
We decided we all wanted to test the bartender and order custom cocktails. I said I liked vodka and preferred something light and crisp. I mean… that’s a pretty vague order, right? What I received was this cocktail that literally tasted like summer in a glass. It was exactly what I had in mind.
Ok, now that I’ve gotten off topic… let’s get back to Next. Haha. Kim and Jeff sent us this promo video a few weeks before to get us pumped up.
Needless to say, we were super excited after watching that.
A host came to grab us from The Office and escorted us up to Next. With famous movie soundtracks playing in the background, we knew what was to come was going to be amazing. Here is a visual diary of what we experienced. (As I’m sure you can understand, these photos don’t do the evening any justice.)
The meal started with a black tie flare. The tablecloth was black, we received personal bottles of Moët (the Oscar’s champagne of choice), caviar, and popcorn. There was even a script we could follow.
The night progressed into interpretations of famous movie scenes.
It was after this course that the tablescape changed and we were now dining on a red, murder-esque like tablecloth that would take us through some action packed films.
After this course, the tablescape changed to movie posters. I was conveniently sitting in front of one of my all time favorites.. Clueless! Haha.
The box of chocolates was also a take on classic films. The top left was “The Truffle Shuffle”. The top right was “The Nutty Professor” – our personal favorite of the four. The bottom right was “Coffee and Cigarettes” and oddly tasted exactly like it’s name. The red candy was “Some Like it Hot.”
As you can see, Next is WAY more involved than just an expensive dinner. It is a food performance that taps into all of your senses. Have you been to Next? What was your favorite theme? Leave me a comment below!