- Admission by ticket.
- Food: Par excellence
- Decor: Sleek
- Service: Pièce de résistance (amazing)
- Cost: $$$$
- Wine / Cocktails: Sommeliers pair wines, no wine list.
As tempting as it is, I will not delve into the “Next concept” here, as that information is readily available (and very well explained) elsewhere. This is all about the experience. With that said, I am honored and excited to be the first Mafioso to review Next (Paris 1906). As the title indicates, the following is more of a love letter than a "review." From the moment we entered Next until the doors (at The Aviary) closed behind us, the experience was an exercise in perfection. Perfection, as I use the word here, contemplates both its objective and subjective components.
Objectively, the food, the flavors, the plating, and the wine pairings were spot-on, flawless, and literally by the book (Escoffier's Le Guide Culinaire). The impeccable execution of Escoffier’s recipes and the gorgeous plates are precisely what one would expect from the juggernaut of a chef that is Grant Achatz and his uber-talented protégée David Beran. I have said before that you can taste it when there is love in the food. At Next, not only could I taste the love, I could taste respect, honor, and reverence for the “father of modern French cuisine.”
Subjectively, this is where it gets interesting... The experience we were given was exactly what we wanted, without knowing what we wanted. It sounds weird, but the closest thing I can compare it to is falling in love. We knew after the first course that we were totally smitten with Next, and the staff showed us that our feelings were reciprocated. (I won’t give away their secret, but they will know who you are when you walk in the door, to an uncanny degree, and I’m a nobody). As such, the experience is not one-size-fits-all, instead it is crafted to fit you (and like your mother told you, you are special). Every single person who visited our table (and there were about 12 of them) made it personal. Each was warm, engaging, and genuine, and made me feel like a pretty-pretty princess (my #1 criteria). At the same time, they sensed that we are laid-back and like to have fun, so the wine came a-flowing, the jokes got going, and the love kept growing. Hands down, best service ever.
Finally, please remember all things worth having are worth fighting for. Calmly repeat this mantra while you are furiously clicking "refresh" in an attempt to score tickets. It will happen, you will get in someday, and no matter the incarnation of Next, I am confident that the food will be amazing and that you will be made to feel like a pretty-pretty princess. J'aime après!