restaurants
Alain Ducasse at the Essex House
155 West 58th Street
212 265 7300

Prepared for the meal of your life? We were floored by our experience here and any critic who doesn't think this is the penultimate is so jaded, we're not sure there's a restaurant for that person. The devil is indeed in the details; Ducasse has one seating a night so when we walked in, we didn't even have to give our name. In the lounge we were greeted by a glass of Dom Perignon and the first of two amuse-bouches. The booths have tables for ladies' purses. Napkins are changed whenever guests get up. Water is presented in a selection at the beginning of the meal in a milk delivery basket - yes even the taste of water matters here. Exec chef Tony Esnault has every ingredient is described in every course. Ignore the wine tome and let their genius sommelier pick for you; a world wine tour will ensue, everything from a Slovenian dessert wine to the best Margaux youíve ever had. Though the menu does change twice a year and within the season, some dishes change, try to have the frog soup. We know it's a cliche - it's also brilliant. The fishes are also superb. Light, flaky, and simple. The cheese selection is organised by region; though the selection changes, some of our favourites were present including a savoie choice, reblochon and several good stinky blues. The baba au rhum is made with your choice of a gourmet selection of aged rums. When you leave, youíre given a menu outlining your choices for the evening. Wow. Flawless.

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