At celebrity chef Grant Achatz's new Chicago restaurant, called Next, you get both.
This isn't just fine dining. This is fine dining with a theatrical flair.
Every three months, for instance, the pre-fixe menu changes, and each quarter features a truly unique theme, with the food being of a certain place and quite possibly of a certain time as well.
Another theatrical element involves the presentation of the food. Great care is taken to assure that each course makes its own grand entrance.
The word most commonly heard at Next may well be, "Wow."
Then there's the matter of securing a table. You can't simply call in and make a reservation. Just like going to the theater, you have to buy a ticket.
Be aware that Achatz does not offer off-Broadway prices. However, "matinee" type pricing is available if you do not insist upon eating in prime time. Go on a Saturday night, though, and you'll need to bring plastic and perhaps a co-signer.
For Next's first themed dinner, ticket prices ranged from $65 to $110, while wine pairings went for either $48 or $98.
Is it worth it? Well, if money is no object, yes. And the wine pairings, no matter which level of decadence you choose, are spot on.
So if you're seeking a dining experience and either live in Chicagoland or will be traveling there, make Next your next stop.
To learn more about the restaurant or to purchase tickets, go to: nextrestaurant.com.