935 W. Fulton

It wouldn’t be a proper Best of Chicago issue if we didn’t validate the Yelpification of restaurant discourse by declaring the “best” one. But for once the answer is as clear as tortue claire—Next, the time-traveling restaurant from Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas, was almost universally beloved by all who managed to score tickets to its first incarnation, set in Paris 1906. Because I’m sure you haven’t heard enough about it already, here’s how I gushed in my review: What they “aim for with the first menu is an interpretation of a meal as it might have been eaten in the dining room of the Paris Ritz, where Escoffier reigned during La Belle Epoch.” The food was “so far removed from current culinary practice it might as well be totally new again. And in some respects it is, . . . both a museum piece and an innovation, dictated with relaxed informality by servers drilled in the historical context and technique of every aspect of the experience.” It was “a merciless succession of rich dishes” which stimulated an “intense passion about a time and place diners have never experienced.” Alas, Paris 1906 will be lost to the sands of time a few days after this is published, replaced by something new at Next, allowing the real best restaurant in Chicago to reclaim its throne. Long live Harold’s Chicken Shack. —Mike Sula