Molecular gastronomy, meet reckless conceptualization.
Some pictures, which I must attribute to blogs and photographers only Google Images could find:
The item on top is short rib. The red sheet below consists of Campari, beet root juice, cranberry, salt, sugar... etc. The chef then added agar agar, which gives the sauce its suddenly jellyish consistency, thus allowing it to be manipulated as such.
This is a photographic representation of the 24-course meal that Alinea calls "the tour." If you want to actually read about each of the dishes, feel free -- I found the description here: http://www.foodite.com/foodite/2006/09/alinea.html#more
Potato soup chilled to 30 degrees Fahrenheit, served with a ball of potato heated up to 275 degrees Fahrenheit, a single black truffle, and Parmesan cheese. It's designed to be eaten in a single bite so that one has time to enjoy the nuances of flavor as they naturally progress.
Hearts of palm. (!!!!!) Who knew?
Bacon. Somehow, the assortment looks at first like a stage of dancers in frilly green tutus. Why? No one knows, but I for one will not ask any questions...
Chocolate, passionfruit, lemongrass...!
What sweeps me away is the utterly romantic notion that food can be as much an artistic medium as oil paints -- it's an idea I've always believed but never seen in practice to such a degree as this. I'm dying to go and aching to figure out some sort of bribe involving someone taking me to Chicago to eat at this restaurant... hmm. Let me know if you have a brainstorm.