Wednesday, November 08, 2006

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon

Ok, so the title isn't quite right. But I don't know how to put the two french dots over the "o" in Joel in Microsoft Word. Nevertheless, that is the only thing that wasn't perfect about this night at New York's Four Season Hotel and this amazing restaurant.

The perfect foodie experience. Instead of sitting around a white table cloth with a stuffy server, imagine a sushi bar motif, but with exquisite new-french inspired food being passed over the transom to you at a rate about 2X what you actually ordered. Was the pesto adorned, tempura langostine the best dish? Well it was until you tasted the amazing calamari salad with raw baby artichokes and chorizo. Of course its reign lasted only until they served the tuna sashimi with chives; and then there was the chestnut soup with foie gras, and the stuffed quail again with foie gras (get it while the law still allows), and the kobe beef hamburger.

Moreover, the whole time you are talking with the strangers on either side, to the point that after a course or two you are actually passing plates back and forth. Myriad of courses while meeting a writer, singer, producer (that is one person), a fashion designer, and a private equity investor--all willing to share their food (although I think we were annoying the fashion designer a little bit). This was definitely in my top 4 dining experiences of 2006, and that is saying a great deal, since 2006 has been a banner year including: el Bulli, Manressa, Daniel, French Laundry, Drolma, Alinea, Topolobampo and several other contenders.

If you get to New York, definitely get to L'Atelier de Joel (two dots over the French "o") Robuchon at the Four Seasons. Meet some very cool people and eat some amazing food.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I first had the L'Atelier experience a few months after the Paris opening and it still is fresh in my mind as one of the "foodie fantastic top 10 of all times" experiences. With no reservations permitted, you line up and take your chances that you can hold out as long as needed to get that coveted seat. The space is small - I don't think that it holds more than 30 people - and the food is your reward for patience and devotion to excellence.

I understand that the format has been compromised a bit in NY to suit more diners which is really a shame since the sushi bar feeling in Paris - where you literally have your own chef for every seven - people cannot be underestimated. Performance art at its best. Eyeing what other diners are eating, it's hard not to get carried away by the moment or the beautiful choices. And yes there was delicious lobster, but also beautiful sardines.

Based here on the West Coast, we're lucky to have the 'not to be missed' Joel Robuchon at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas - where we dined last August in celebration of a friend's 40th bday party. The private garden dining room makes you feel like you're in a townhouse in Paris - perfect for the 14 people who were lucky enough to be invited to this gala - and the daily baked bread (I think there were 15 kinds offered) is the most memorable bread experience that I have ever had.

The dining experience and service were impeccable and the food inventive in both the melding of tastes and the artful presentation - stones, glass, rocks integrated so lovingly into the dish like a gift being presented with each course.

Don't miss the Movia Sauvignon Blanc (it's a 'find' from Slovenia on the wine list) at about $60 it's incredible with the first two courses.

Happy Turkey!

12:41 PM  

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