It’s not quite a Michelin-worthy enterprise, but credit is still due this heartfelt doc about three very different restaurants. There’s an eclectic selection of subjects: Alinea in Chicago—a gastronome’s paradise owned by the beloved chef Grant Achatz; Breitbach’s Country Dining in Balltown, Iowa, an institution operated by the same extended family since the mid-1800s; and La Cocina de Gabby, a Tucson, Arizona, Mexican joint opened by Francisco Martinez and his wife that’s the epitome of do-it-yourself gumption, probably to a fault.
Director Joseph Levy rapidly intercuts between this trio of locales, observing the tenacious employees spout homespun wisdom, and recall or endure various crises (a cancer diagnosis, foreclosure threats). The overall effect is not unlike watching a chef de cuisine experimenting in his off-hours; not everything takes, but you still come away with a pleasingly stimulated palate.
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