With holiday parties and holiday travels and holiday budgets blown, it seems like it's been ages since I've been able to go out for a nice dinner..and by 'nice,' I mean a step above our usual much-loved haunts. It's a new year, though, and with the turning of the calendar I am resolving one additional thing: to have one utterly fantastic, unforgettable, wallet-bursting meal in 2007.
Which brings me to this -- a list of my top 5 most unforgettable meals:
5. Restaurant les Ambassadeurs
I'll be honest -- I don't remember much about the meal. But, my husband proposed to me afterwords, so it will always be a memorable night. (Even though I got sick later, perhaps indicating that seven courses is about 3 too many.)
4. Gotham Bar & Grill
We went with a group of 10 or 12, for a friend's birthday, and had one of those seamless nights -- the food was excellent, the service was invisible and attentive at the same time, the wine was amazing, the room was both quiet and lively...absolutely a classic New York night in a classic New York restaurant.
I've eaten at Babbo twice, once at 6:30 pm and once at 11:00 pm, and both times were absolutely worth the odd hour. We ate their with friends on New Year's day two years ago and had the pasta tasting menu. I still fantasize about the pappardelle with chanterelles.
This is where we celebrated our second anniversary. I felt somewhat like a kid eating at Daniel, because it is intimidatingly adult, and oh-so elegant. But, the food was amazing (I had venison that literally needed no knife to cut it) and I felt like we were attended to by 7 or 8 invisible SuperWaiters. I have never, ever experienced service like I did at Daniel, and the sommelier was incredibly helpful and gracious -- we asked for the label from the wine we drank, and he brought it to us pressed into a heavy, embossed folder, which I now have tucked into our wedding album. Glorious.
1. Jewel Bako
Jewel Bako (and the Jack and Grace Lamb empire) has its fair share of dissenters, but consider me a fan. We ate at Jewel Bako on my 29th birthday, and it is, without a doubt, the meal my husband and I both refer to when asked about 'unforgettable meals.' We had the omakase, and I have absolutely no idea what all the individual dishes we ate were...I remember we ordered a white Hermitage that was divine, and I remember befriending the diner sitting next to me, who was a friend of Jack Lamb's. I felt like I was dining inside an exquisite little jewel box, and like I was the only one there. The service (we were largely attended to by Jack Lamb) was doting and familiar, as if the restaurant had been just waiting for Kevin and me to step through the doors. Presentation was gasp-inducing, and I was introduced to the sushi chef. Transporting.
What are some of yours, and why?