Our best meal? For the value, passion, and all the good that represents our industry I would have to say Peasant, even if he had presented us a bill.  Frankie De Carlo represents what a cook should be.

However, Geoff and I agree that the perfect meal, the best of the best, was lunch at Le Bernardin. Cost aside (I’ll get to that in a minute…wow) I have always ranked Eric Ripert as one of the top three chefs in the country. I stand by that.

Geoff and I were joined by my great friend, Myra Fiori of illy caffe. I’ve been one of illy caffe’s biggest fans for 20 some years and Myra has been a friend for most of that time.  But enough about friendships, let’s talk food:

1st was a bowl of smoked salmon salad for the table, sort of a gimme.  Next, a tasting of six Kumamoto oysters, each with a garnish a bit spicier than one before.  3rd came a sous vide poached egg with osetra caviar.  Cheater.  Oh yeah, served with a ’95 Dom Perignon.  Cheater.

Then a thin slice of zucchini rolled around curried peeky toe crab.  Spot on I say.  Next was poached halibut, black cod with octopus stuffed with peppers, and an entree of kobe beef and escolar.  Not sure which was richer, or better.  Awesome.  Then fromage blanc with almonds and honey and finally an eggshell stuffed with some chocolate, orange meringue and chicory ice cream.  In the interest of ‘keeping it clean’ I’ll not shout out how great it all was.

And it was all finished off with a great espresso.  Illy, duh.

The cost?  Sit down.  No, really.  Sit down.  Eric ‘comped’ me for old time’s sake (and I didn’t partake in the wine tastings that accompanied the lunch) so the tab was for Two People with tasting menus and tasting wines, tax and tip.  Ready? $1,000.  For the love of god, who eats like this?  And should they?  The debate will rage on (or not).  The fact is that you’re certainly paying for the experience.  Sort of like a week long cruise, or a trip to Paris.  Only more expensive.


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