My husband and I experienced Alinea for our wedding anniversary back in May 2010 (omit the fact that tripadvisor only allowed me to select a date between 2012 and 2013). We opted for the wine pairing menu, which meant a different type of wine for EACH of the courses served. With the 15+ courses, I would NOT recommend having wine pairing unless you can tolerate having that much wine and that much varietal of wines. Both my husband and I actually ended up turning down the glasses of wine by the 7th course or so because we were so overwhelmed by the amount of wine!
Overall, we had spent 4-5 hours completing our dinner meal and it was definitely one culinary experience to remember. The best part of the meal was the dessert in which it was a masterpiece created on top of your table with a variety of different techniques used.
Would I say this is one of the best meals I have ever had? Not necessarily but definitely one of the more expensive meals per person we have ever had!! Don't get me wrong - this is definitely a wonderful meal but to us it was more of a culinary adventure/experience than a "meal" (sorry - it's kind of hard to explain but to me there is a difference between a "meal" and an "experience" and Alinea is more of an "experience"... ).
As for the culinary adventure of your senses:
(1). Sight - Aesthetics are brilliant both of the restaurant and plating of the food. Romantic with dim lighting with a spiral staircase heading up to the restaurant for seating. Plating of the food is artistic yet unique and unlike any other (mostly because it is due to its gastronomy style of food). It is hard to describe. The equipment such as plates used to serve the dishes are different depending on the technique involved in the preparation of the food.
Smell - Depending on the season, the menu may involve your sense of smell to complete the gastronomy experience. Imagine a "contained" puff of smell in a vacuum and in order to experience and taste the food, one must "poke" a hole in the "container" and experience the smell and then taste.
Touch - When your tongue comes in contact with the food, your eyes may tell you one thing but your tongue tells you something totally different - rest assured that it is a pleasant experience of the palate.
Taste - One would assume that gastronomy may just be technique used to prepare food a unique way but not necessarily appealing to the palate; however, at Alinea, all of the courses are well balanced, seasoned and delectable. Proportions may seem small at first but once you hit the 4th or so course, you'll be surprised just how satisfying (yet enjoyable) the small plates can be.
Hearing - Waiters and Waitresses are educated on each of the course. Ask them any question about each of the courses and they can tell you anything!
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