So about that dinner … the moment we walked in they knew exactly who we were — I’m not sure exactly how — and treated us so graciously, with circumstance but no pomp, that the giddy feeling we sailed in on ignited into outright, unabashed joy. A cocktail at the bar and then, May I show you to your table? The proud, nervous walk to our seat, a creamy envelope waiting, the stunning art deco room — nay, hall — laid at our feet, kind words from the server, and a champagne cart — a champagne cart! — wheeled to our side. We’ve had more than our share of decadent meals in the past two years but this never gets old, never ceases to put a big goofy grin on my face. (And if it ever does: take away the champagne and cart me home!)
He’s been dining on haute cuisine since he was eight (!) but I never ate like this growing up — not even close. Dinner out was sushi or casual celebrations or with out of town friends. We did a lot of cooking and eating at home, wonderful foods, interesting foods, but not this. The creative, exquisite plates — after plates after plates — and three-employees-for-every-diner service makes me feel like an intrepid traveler, heir to the throne, and the kid who won a night with her favorite pop star — all at once.
He doesn’t hold back, that man. If you’re going to eat at a place like this, he tells me, you may as well do it right. And so when he orders it’s impossible not to fall in love a little more (for a generous soul is generous in all regards, and a man of appetites is just that). Why yes, we’ll have that wine and this one too (meanwhile I’m thinking why would anyone pay that much…? oh he’s crazy! certifiable! and then the first sip, and oh! well there’s my answer) … and the tasting menu and the duck for two … carved tableside, by the way! Carved tableside! The most perfect duck, truly flawless, the best in every way, comparable (M. says) to some famous place in Paris known for its duck … and carved for me! Tableside!
I know I’m being a bit of a rube but really, I’ll never get over this. Never!
And oh, let me just say — he is the best dining companion I could ask for: every question I have, he has an answer. Every smile, an answering smile. We get a glimpse of each other as we must have been as kids — and while drinking the tastiest wines and wearing our shiniest togs! What lucky ducks.
Anyway, a few (just a few) of our highlights, if you care to see…. It really was a meal for the ages.
The Fly Fox, my clutch, and the bar. I love elegant bar accouterments.
The champagne cart. It haunts my dreams.
Goat cheese popsicle, beet marshmallow. The latter especially is a difficult texture to pull off with savory ingredients.
A perfect course.
Foie gras with chocolate and beet.
That duck! On the carving platter and on my plate (not pictured: in mah belly).
A Kir Royale-inspired dessert on a ceramic pillow. As you do.
Sweet potato and chocolate ribbons — a visual echo of an earlier carrot course.
Darling little mint leaf!
And to finish … French moonshine! they grow the pears inside the bottle! Well I never.