L'Atelier du Joel Robuchon, June 21, 2007

L'Atelier du Joel Robuchon
Four Seasons Hotel
57 E. 57th Street

I had lunch with Food Editor of Gothamist, Laren Spirer and it was both of our first visits to the dining destination known as L'Atelier. I was so amped for this lunch after hearing some great reviews from friends.

The Four Seasons, it should be noted, is breathtaking. I don't like the word breathtaking, but it really was. Actually, it was stresstaking. I walked in and immediately fell at ease. So calming. An oasis in a bustling part of the city.

After navigating the winding halls, I made it to the ebony and red room just as my dining partner for the day was. We were offered a seat at the bar (the good seats!) and jumped on the opportunity of seeing the action up close.

I went with the Express Menu and chose the Le King Crab - which was a 'salad' of king crab, mozzarella and avocado. It sounded so mix matched that I had to see if it would work and indeed, lest there be any doubt, it did. The crab was awesome, the romaine hearts (uncut) actually made sense in this form, and the mozzarella also seemed to work well with the crustacean.

For my entree, I chose L'Amadai which was pan sauteed with lily bulbs and served atop a yuzu citrus broth. So delicate. So delicious. And the crispy skin was perfect. First time trying this fish, and I'm now a fan.

We shared an order of L'Anguille - caramelized eel layered with smoked foie gras. The joining of these two distinct flavors is a case study for flavor profile perfection. It lived up to every expectation...I just wish the serving was larger. Oh my god was this delicious. One of my favorite dishes ever.

photo courtesy of New York Magazine

L'Atelier is truly something special. The food is heavenly, the location is much better than what some critics are arguing ("In the lobby of a hotel? For shame") and the artistry is nice too. The room itself was pristine, the design was nice, but the color (shiny blacks and reds) reminded me of my high school locker room (Go Big Red!). Alas, is this better than Jean Georges? I don't think so. Some of the dishes (the Eel and foie gras!) are certainly more intriguing that what you usually get at Jean Georges, and the menu is a little deeper, but I'm not sure if its better.

A few more visits and maybe I'll know for sure. :)

steak tartare with boring looking fries.


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