When Next serves its first customers on April 1, its menu will be painstakingly reproduced from the classical French repertoire: whole lobes of foie gras baked in brioche, clear turtle soup with Madeira, duck pressed and sauced with its own blood and marrow, as served at the Tour d’Argent in Paris for more than 200 years.
These dishes, which Mr. Achatz has been refining for a year, will be served for all of three months. Next will then morph into an entirely different restaurant, and again three months after that.
Just to set the bar a little higher for himself, and make the creative process more invigorating, each menu for Next will draw from a different place and time. So, rather than the earthbound categories of Japanese, Italian or Peruvian, the food will evoke cloudier concepts: Kyoto in springtime; Palermo in 1949; Hong Kong in far-off 2036. A menu might be designed around a single day — say, the Napa Valley on Oct. 28, 1996, the day Mr. Achatz started work at the French Laundry, where he remained until 2001.