Alinea rivals the French Laundry for title of the best restaurant in the US. Whereas The French Laundry is classical French American cuisine, Alinea takes a different trek attempting to push the boundaries of avant garde cooking. Having dined there once myself I can say it was truly a theatrical experience. The food was mesmerizing and required audience interaction for the full experience.
Alinea the cookbook is much of the same. While The French Laundry cookbook is fairly approachable for any cook who is comfortable in the kitchen, Alinea is a much more intimidating force. Thus far, I’ve only attempted one recipe, The Black Truffle Explosion, and it did take several attempts to get something edible that looked vaguely like the picture. The remaining 599 recipes feature too many ingredients or pieces of equipment I am not willing to shell out thousands of dollars for.
That being said, Alinea the cookbook, is awe inspiring. The 600 full color photographs are marvelous and look more like artists renditions than edible concoctions. The thinking and philosophy as well as the well written recipes themselves are entertaining and informative. Even though I am not ready to attempt many of the recipes themselves, I find myself leisurely flipping through the book and enjoying just reading and marveling at what Grant Achatz has achieved.
This book is really a fantastic gift for someone (or yourself!) who loves the art of cooking and is looking to get inspired or awed but what is surely one of the best and most innovative chefs in the country. See what others have to say or see purchase options here.