Address: Four Seasons Hotel New York, 57 East 57th St, New York
It’s a shame that Gan and I did not give Joel Robuchon a chance to impress us with his food for the longest time. We've skipped his restaurants in Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong for the past few years, since we thought they were too “commercialized”. But after hearing good reviews from some close friends, I decided to bring Gan to L'atelier de Joel Robuchon New York to celebrate his birthday this year, and it turned out to be one of the best dinners we have had for a long time! We should have known -- Joel Robuchon, who is one of the leaders in nouvelle cuisine, who mentored Gordon Ramsay -- his food should be amazing.
L'atelier de Joel Robuchon New York is located in the Four Seasons Hotel in midtown Manhattan. As usual, I requested the bar seating so that Gan and I can have a good view of the open kitchen and watch the chefs in action. The menu at L'atelier is slightly different from other fine dining restaurants we have been to - they offer regular tasting menu "Decouverte" ($190 per person for 9 courses including desserts and $125 per person for wine pairing), or the ala carte menu which consists or small tasting portions, hot and cold appetizers, and fish and meat entrees. We saw a few small tasting portion dishes that we really like but they were not on the tasting menu, so we decided go with ala carte. We ordered the crispy langoustine, sea urchin, seared foie gras, caramelized quail, and braised veal cheek. Later on, we noticed that many people were ordering the langoustine carpaccio and decided to get that as well. From the amuse-bouche to the small tasting portions/entrees to the desserts, every dish was amazing and totally exceeded our expectation. The langoustine carpaccio was refreshing, it reminded me of the fluke carpaccio dish at Le Bernardin and the braised veal cheek was very tender and delicious, and not at all heavy. However, the most memorable dish for me was definitely the sea urchin with a mousseline of earl grey infused carrots and for Gan it was the crispy langoustine. As you can imagine, we were both in gastronomic heaven during those two very short hours at the restaurant.
Gan and I really love nouvelle cuisine (modern style French cuisine that emphasizes on the use of fresh/quality ingredients and inventive techniques to create simple/lighter dishes) and we thought that Joel Robuchon is truly a master in nouvelle cuisine. From the food, you can tell that the chef(s) put a lot of thoughts when crafting the menu and his creations are simple yet complex. It’s also amazing how Joel Robuchon is able to achieve such perfection in his food/restaurant, when he has an empire of top rated restaurants all over the world. Perhaps that is why Joel Robuchon was named “Chef of the Century” by Gault Millau and why he has been awarded a total of 17 Michelin stars for his restaurants worldwide.
Amuse-bouche #1 - with foie gras. VERY VERY DELICIOUS!
Le Baba - cake soaked with rum served with caramel ice cream