Chef Grant Achatz. Photo courtesy Ethan Hill.
A few weeks back, molecular master Grant Achatz Twitter-teased the forthcoming theme at Next, his tickets-only Chicago restaurant. Now he’s given Food & Wine the scoop on the new menu, called Chicago Steakhouse, which debuts the first week in January. It will be a nostalgic throwback to the Mad Men era of big meat dining. “We’re going really traditional,” he says, “looking to revive the spirit of the old steak house. We want to transport people back in time and show them what it was really like to eat in the early 1950s, when a steak house was almost more of a club, with individual wine cellars and cigars.” He’ll be riffing on old-school classics like the iceberg wedge salad, oysters Rockefeller, creamed spinach and baked Alaska—using a wine press, for example, to extract juice from bones for bordelaise sauce, and poaching lobster meat sous vide for lobster Thermidor. The room will also reflect the era as much as possible, down to vintage china, elaborate candles and white linen tablecloths. “We don’t want to make it too dusty,” Achatz says, “but we want to hearken back to that period of over-the-top indulgence.” Tickets will be sold after Thanksgiving at nextrestaurant.com.