Friday, February 29, 2008

Five Favorites: Restaurants

Five of my favorite restaurants outside New York, in alphabetical order:

Chez Panisse, Berkeley, California. The only place that could have convinced me, a pork-abstainer, to eat piglet, done three ways, with emerald fava beans, as one of three perfect courses redolent of the farm and the field. If they'd been serving eeyore or tigger, I would have tried those too.

Corte Sconta, Venice, Italy. The fish you eat was caught that morning; the fried fresh anchovies bear no resemblance to the salty strips that might adorn a Caesar salad elsewhere. The proprietress tells you what you should have; her husband the chef is singing along with a Bjoerling aria in the kitchen; paper covers the tables. And you get there by water. Where Poseidon would dine if he were earthbound.

Doe's Eat Place, Little Rock, Arkansas. Reputedly Bill Clinton's favorite eatery, hence the heart attack. Dilapidated, but you're not there for the decor; you go for the steaks sold by the pound (the smallest available was a two-pound t-bone) and super-crispy fries. An Alka-Seltzer sign just happened to be next to my table, a reminder for the digestion-impaired.

The French Laundry, Yountville, California. Lunch takes four hours, and it should; you've been waiting for two months since your reservation for a lengthy procession of inventive dishes cooked by a battalion of white-clad acolytes of Thomas Keller (whose movements were captured to create Ratatouille's animated chefs). An edible hymn to creativity.

Taillevent, Paris, France. The service is exquisite; you just have to think you might like something, and it appears. The food is sublime and refined. The wine cellar is legendary. It couldn't really exist anywhere outside of the Eighth Arrondissement, nor would I want it to.

No comments:

Post a Comment