Dishes That Double as Special Effects

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Chef Grant Achatz poses in his whites at Alinea.

At 31, Chef Grant Achatz has already earned his stripes at top eateries. Now he's running his own restaurant. Petra Mayer, NPR hide caption

toggle caption Petra Mayer, NPR
Chef Grant Achatz prepares a dish.

Achatz is using Alinea to bring new things to the table. hide caption

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At a new restaurant in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, the cuisine reflects a fresh culinary trend. Chef Grant Achatz says he doesn't know quite how to label what Alinea does.

For instance, one entree reads: "Bison, beets, blueberries, burning cinnamon." Achatz, 31, describes another dish as a lobster-flavored Cheeto.

He says he wants to create entirely new tastes, and the restaurant reflects a complete aversion to being predictable or dull. The menu, decor and computer-programmed lighting are always changing. New kinds of utensils appear on tables.

Jennifer Ludden paid a visit, and came away thinking of Alinea's fare as "special effects food."



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