L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, New York, 2009

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon was a restaurant in New York that is now closed. (L’Atelier also exists in Las Vegas, Paris, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, and Tokyo with many of the same plates.) We dined there in December, 2009, at the bar, where we watched chefs prepare our food. The restaurant was dark, which explains the lighting in the photos; but this created a soft, glowing atmosphere in which to dine thoughtfully. In fact, we frequently closed our eyes and focused all of our senses on tasting traditional flavors combined in classic ways. For example, silky sea urchin with cauliflower cream is, well, a little ecstasy for your mouth. L’Atelier is French food perfection. If you are unfamiliar with Robuchon, Google him; he was called the “Chef of the Century,” and the New York restaurant had two Michelin stars. Here are some highlights:

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Sea urchin in a lobster gelee, topped with a cauliflower cream
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Crispy langoustine papillote with basil pesto
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Soft-boiled egg on a spicy eggplant stew
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Caramelized eel layered with smoked foie gras
Calisson

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