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Omnivore - Price points - the $20 cocktail and $65 terrine at Grant Achatz's new speakeasy

What do excitement and exclusivity breed? $50 beef tartare.

Image

  • Via Achatz's twitter feed @gachatz
  • The interior of the Office

I just got back from a long weekend in Chicago to visit our much-missed former editor Mara Shalhoup. Of the many jealousies I exhibited towards the Chicago dining scene while I was there, the biggest was that they have restaurants that are so exciting, so grand, it's impossible to get a reservation. When was the last time Atlanta had a restaurant like that? Our last few true special occasion restaurants - Seeger's and the Dining Room - were so empty most nights you could have walked in any old time. It's not hard to get a table at Bacchanalia. Occasionally, at a hot new place, there will be a few months where it's hard to dine at prime time. But Chicago has many restaurants where people will wait months to get in, or wait hours at the door for a table. I miss that excitement. But there's a madness to that kind of restaurant frenzy.

While there, our sister paper's restaurant critic Mike Sula got a copy of the Office's menu, the speakeasy in the basement of Aviary, Grant Achatz's new cocktail-driven restaurant.

Here's the deal with the Office. It only has 14 seats. You can only get in with an invitation. What does this mean, exactly? You literally have to sit around upstairs hoping they'll tap you on the shoulder and invite you in. And once you're in, you're rewarded by being allowed to order from the list of $20 cocktails and $30+ appetizers. There's a $65 foie gras terrine. A $50 beef tartare. A $25 ice cream sundae.