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Monday, November 1, 2010

Alinea 4: Clarity

Following our jaunt through faux Asia, the staff at Alinea put down these pillows in front of us. As I debated taking a snooze the table, these large square white plates were put on those pillows.

Turns out the pillows were filled with the aroma of cut grass (from an air freshener can? Maybe they extract it from patches of wheatgrass), and the weight of the plates are so calibrated to force it out as we dined, thus perfuming the air. In this dish, we are presented with a salad of heirloom tomatoes, but like in no form I've seen before. At least one was cut so thinly, it was like it was painted on the plate. Accompanied by items like olive oil, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and onions, although again, those agents were freeze dried or otherwise transformed to change the salad eating experience. The flavors, however, remained familiar. I'll admit that the aroma effect was subtle, if at all memorable. Then again, of course, one desensitizes to a particular smell in about 15 seconds, so I'm not sure if the gimmick is meant to last.

That was followed by this palate cleanser. An aqueous distillation of the flavors of Thailand: from fish sauce to lemongrass, one could really taste the components. It's not much to look at, but I think this was one of the more successful and inventive items to hit the table. We marveled at how one could cram so much complexity into a clear water based liquid, but the staff wasn't telling.

Previously on this series:

Alinea 3: Chinky Chicken
Act 2: Green
A symphony in 21 acts

1 comment:

  1. I'm telling you, Ricky, Rotory Evaporation. Most interesting to me is that the capsaicin in chiles won't evaporate, so you get all of the flavor, none of the heat!