Next (The Hunt) – Fulton Market, Chicago

Not my favorite course at Next, but still delicious.

Review By: Christianna Klangides –

There’s a thrill of excitement as our cab pulls up to the corner of the industrial street filled with magical restaurants. I’ve waited so long to get a ticket to this spot. Perhaps that’s half the fun. We’re greeted by a friendly hostess who leads us through the curtains to a surprisingly conversational crowd. My heart smiles a little stronger. I’ve been to one too many of these restaurants where it’s prim, proper and quiet. Deer skin lined our tables. In the center, a wax stamped note introduced us to the experience we were about to encounter – The Hunt at Next.

Per the recommendation of one of our servers, we order the beverage pairing that included both wines and spirits. The first, an unfiltered wine with an orange hue and unusual tones. Then, The Hunt, begins.

The fun begins with a Pandora’s box or Hen of the Woods. When opened, aromas of herbs such as rosemary fill the air as we dive into wild mushrooms. The next course was the Catch of the Great Lakes. The most beautiful smoked salmon accompanied by a delightful mouse. And then they brought us flasks. Brilliant. We were two enthusiastic kids on a hunt.

I loved the play on words for the “Charcu-Tree” plate which had five different meats. The presentation was beautiful as we compared our favorite bites. The comfortable atmosphere brought us together with the table next to us as we began to play a ranking game. I think we all had different favorites, but they were all delicious in their own ways. I couldn’t resist the elk jerky!

Cellar Aged Carrots & Onions were paired with a Brut. The carrots were cooked to perfection. Another plateful of art was served- Duck Tongue, Cider Vinegar. The raddachio wrapped duck had the perfect amount of crunch.

Then things got a little fancy. Candles were brought to the table and added an old-world class to the menu. Gold rimmed plates housed my favorite dish of the evening: Sturgeon & Caviar. A buttery caviar sauce was poured table side, and my mouth is watering just thinking about this delicious plate. It was good enough to lick the plate, and I would eat that sauce in a soup bowl.

Woodcock Jolie was the next course. Perfectly cooked with a matching temperature.

The table was well set for the squab prepared three ways. Although one of the more beautiful presentations, it was not my favorite course. Don’t get me wrong-it was still delicious, but my heart was still stuck on the sturgeon. A palate of Fallen Leaves & Kidney were presented next on an imitation plate made of bark. It was almost too pretty to eat. The flavors and colors were bold and beautiful. Next came a hot stone and some raw meat. The Bison & Bearnaise was an interactive course where we cooked our meat at our table. Very fun!

I may have been slightly disappointed that the next course was not real bone marrow, but the Marrow Brulee was a great introduction into the desserts. The presentation was so fun, I literally grabbed my bone and licked it. At this point, it was safe to say we were light-hearted and well into our beverage pairings :)

Our dinner was always filled with big spoons and little spoons. For dessert, the small spoon was for the toppings, the big spoon for the Maris Otter barley pudding. Grains for dessert paired with five different toppings to create unique bites every time. Yum!

And then, a single stick to eat…The Tire D’erable dessert completed our adventure. Poured out onto ice, the maple solidifies as you roll your stick to create a maple lollipop. Just keep it away from your hair!

The Hunt was everything I expected and more. Don’t give up hope for getting tickets to Next. Their Facebook page has a whole community of fellow food lovers who trade, buy and sell tickets. The cost of dinner is worth the investment. As toasty and warm as we were feeling, it was one experience I won’t forget!

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