Hype is a tricky thing....
Before Next even opened there was tons of hype. I signed up to their e-mail list almost a year before they opened. A year.
Is the Paris 1906 version of Next worth the hype? How could it?
We start with Hors d'Ouevres. This was paired with Vincent Carre Brut Champagne.
An interesting French white that smelled like sherry and tasted like a super light white sherry...or maybe a glass of some miscellaneous white wine with a spike of sherry? It was interesting in an academic way.
The woman next to us had a lovely perfume, I actually really liked it - I just wish she didn't feel compelled to squirt herself 19 times before walking in the building. To put a positive spin on it, since my jacket is still infused with her scent I can bring it to Nordstrom and ask a shopgirl what it is - get the Christmas gift for the wife done early.
Paired with Filet de Sole Daumont
Paired with Supremes de Poussin.
Paired with Gratin de Pommes de Terre à la Dauphinoise
and Caneton Rouennais a la Presse
The palate cleanser was the Salade Irma (no wine with this) -
I have little to say because a quick google search and you'll find countless reviews written by people more knowledgeable and eloquent than I'd ever crank out. The chicken was a bit of a miss (purely a "to my taste" situation rather than a poor execution).
Dinner *seemed* incredibly rushed and quick, but we were still there for close to three hours, so it was anything but. Service was outstanding in every regard - friendly with great introductions to the food and wine, a few jokes here and there, all relaxed yet professional.
We took in a few drinks at The Aviary next door as well....
An amuse bouche of watermelon infused with something or another.
The Blueberry -
This guy got a "before" of the Ginger, so you can check that.--
The Dark and Stormy...classy! You drink this from a bottle in a paper bag, if memory serves it's dark rum and homemade ginger ale.
I also had an Old Fashioned encased in a ball of ice that was then smashed at the table...didn't get a photo, but this guy did. It was encased in a ball of ice that the serve smashes - the drink explodes, the liquid fills the glass, and the shards of "glass" are your ice. Pretty sweet.
The drinks are tasty, creative, and beautifully presented. They are also quite expensive - though really, it's not that unusual to see a $12 martini in any given Chicago restaurant - so it may be worth popping in and trying something genuinely unique if you're looking for a fancy night out.
Update 10/13/11 - Upon visiting The Aviary again last night, I've redacted my comments about poor service. Great, friendly staff all around.