Last night at the Astor Center was the Alinea Experience, an event that brought the staff and a few dishes from the Chicago restaurant—named best in the country by Gourmet in 2006—to New York. Stations were set up around the space, each with a different Alinea bite to try. In one room was the restaurant’s “Black Truffle Explosion”: a sort of deep dish ravioli nested in a spoon. It was filled with warm truffle juice and butter; then topped with sliced black truffle, parmesan, and a small bit of romaine. Elsewhere, crispy-chewy dollops of spiced cider meringue filled with apple and foie gras were held up in a basket made of thin wires, a prime example of the restaurant’s unusual serviceware. The meringues looked like halves of a hard-boiled egg, only centered with square yolks.

Attendees (including Top Chef season 4 winner Stephanie Izard) negotiated their way around the crowded room, stopping at the different tables where food was served. Guests broke through sheets of paper covering a network of beehive-esque structures on the wall in order to retrieve a snack that had been planted inside, which turned out to be a kind of shrimp and lime cracker with the texture of a pork rind. Grant Achatz signed copies of the Alinea book and talked with guests. Scroll through the pictures above for more from the event. [Grant Achatz on Gothamist; previously]