Cooking well is a serious art form and many of the chefs working at the restaurants I’ve written about have mastered this craft. I’m encouraged by this. Unfortunately, some of the restaurants I’ve written about, enjoying truly memorable meals, have closed. This saddens me. Saddened not only for those who have lost their jobs and livelihood but because the experience of eating at many of these places will no longer be able to be enjoyed by so many people.
My husband, Lynn likes to remind me of my own kitchen rule. “Why go out to eat if you can make the same dish at home for a lot less money?”
I have pretty much followed that train of thought for the past 30 years. If we are going to spend money to eat out, it damn well better be something I can’t do at home.
A brief note of caution: You may get quite hungry reading some of these reviews. Do yourself a favor and eat something good as you’re reading! And for those of you who are wondering whether I was comped for any of these meals, the answer is emphatically NO. I don’t know any of these chefs personally and have only briefly met two of them that I can remember. One balmy night in August after the dinner service at Eleven Madison Park was finished, Daniel Humm walked around the dining room saying hello to his guests (myself included). My second chef encounter was at Cyrus where I asked one of the servers if I could go into the kitchen to say hello to Douglas Keane because I was super impressed with the meal. I’ve seen Jean-Georges Vongerichten walking into Nougatine and have encountered David Burke at the bar of his own establishment, Fishtail. There is one guy I’d really like to meet, Tony Bourdain, but that’s a whole different story.