I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin, my honest to goodness opinion is to leave that kinda stuff to the guys that have sold-out places at $250+ a seat, and just learn how to cook well in the first place. Are you Grant Achatz, Ferran Adrià, José Andrés, Sat Bains, Richard Blais, Marcel Vigneron, Heston Blumenthal, Sean Brock, Homaro Cantu, Michael Carlson, Wylie Dufresne, Pierre Gagnaire, Will Goldfarb, Adam Melonas, Randy Rucker, Kevin Sousa, Sean Wilkinson, Will LaRue or Laurent Gras? Are you? If you were, you wouldn't be asking such a question here. Cook properly. Cook well. Cook good food. Cook so that people are filling your place night after night, Monday through Thursday, not just on the weekends. Eleven people in the cooking world use those stupid things, nine of them as doorstops and another as a press weight. My goodness. Seven out of ten places close in the first year. Make good food, instead of looking for hocus-pocus, and stay open.
Gimmicks in everything come and go. Good cooking has been around for decades and is by no means a fad. All these nitrogen type guys, lets see if they will still be doing this 10 years down the line . I think not, because by then they will be using dehydrated water for cooking.
I agree with your post to a extent. Yes it is about making good food and making people happy to eat your food. I would never say that i know everything about cooking, but I do make good food and in the past five months my sales have gone up by 300%. This is because I can cook better than other people in my area. The next step is to educate people on what else there is in the culinary world and let them see what we can do with food besides just make it taste good. That is why I was asking if it was worth it. Was looking for reviews from people who have tired it.
Never used one, and can't say if it will be worth it to you -- although it clearly is to some people.
There's a level of cooking which elevates creativity and fun, going beyond the mundane. Yes, food has to taste good, but it can be a lot more. God knows I've dropped a lot of shekels on equipment lately and -- from my soda stream Penguin to my Klose grill, am enjoying the heck out of all my new toys. Yes my friend, fun for the cook and fun for the diner is where it's at. Cooking is entertainment, show them a good time and they'll be back. In the meantime you better have a good time yourself, or they'll taste the resentment.
If you can find one used (an anti-griddle, not a resentment), that might be the best way to go. And at the very least, if there's a used market for them, one on which they get snapped up for high prices, you don't have much to lose. So investigate before firing up your credit card. Finally, if it's just killing you to know what it's all about, and you can afford one without breaking the bank, buy the darn thing and knock yourself out!
"In the home kitchen, you can re-create a basic antigriddle using dry ice and a baking sheet or the back of a spatula, which is what Grant and I used in my home kitchen when he was creating the original Alinea menu. ... 'Experiment first, and worry about the technology later' is a primary rule of the Alinea kitchen, and it should be yours as well." -- Nick Kokonas, Alinea
Is this for a professional kitchen? Is the antigriddle necessary for a dish (or dishes) that are going to be regularly made at that kitchen? I think if the answer to either is no, then it's probably not worth the money, unless you plan to be using it in your home kitchen every day. If you haven't already tried to make something that involves using a fast cooling surface, then I would also say no. Use something else that's available until you get to the point where you know that you need a tool to make it more efficient and convenient. This is why I sous-vide with a 6 quart pot on my stovetop and a digital thermometer.
It is worth it if you want one and like to experiment. Personally, I would love to have one and if affordable I would invest. However, if you are on a limited budget then wait and the $ will go down soon. As for IceMan's reply it appears that the main focus of the post was it's own navel rather than your question therefore inadequate and limpid.
There are two questions here. Is the device worth $1200. Is it worth spending $1200. As Beebe quoted Kokonas, you could experiment with dry ice and a sheet pan.
However I'm more with BDL. Life is short. I did a one day stage at a top NYC restaurant and it inspired me recognize where I had been limiting myself and to branch out beyond what I had been doing in alot of ways. Grant Atchaz and the others listed above are not any smarter or more creative than any of us. They simply chose not to limit their thinking into what is possible.
Like any piece of equipment, you can spend the money and let it sit on the shelf. If you do, then it is not worth spending the money. If you are dedicating your time to experimenting and pushing your boundaries, then the equipment will help you in your discoveries. Or as an old woman told me once, you will regret what you did not do, not what you did.