Daniel. This very grown-up restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper East Side maintains standards of service and cuisine — French haute cuisine, very much an endangered species today — that hark back to an earlier era… But the cooking is up-to-date and really, really good.
Jean-Georges Vongerichten is one of the few chefs in New York City with the distinction of four stars from The New York Times. At his eponymous restaurant in the Trump International Hotel and Tower, his classic French technique bridges old and new worlds, eschews heavy sauces, and embraces the spice and flavors of Asian cuisine.
With his Santa Claus build, his amiable nature, and his obvious passion for his métier, Michel Richard sometimes looks like the happiest chef alive as he leans over a plate at Citronelle holding one of his imaginative, brilliantly executed specialties, smiling, putting on the finishing touches — a sight you can witness through the glass wall that encloses his sparkling kitchen at this D.C. classic. There are those who think Richard is the best contemporary .French chef in America.
You can't talk about Boston's dining scene and not mention Chef Ken Oringer. At this branch of his growing empire, he does French fine dining proud, but plays by his own rules, producing impeccable, artistic plates with a focus on market-driven ingredients — a fact that has not gone unnoticed by the critical powers that be (just count how many "Best of" lists this place has graced). Clio's downstairs offshoot, Uni, by the way, is a popular hangout for local chefs.
Using carefully sourced ingredients, Coi Chef Daniel Patterson serves thoughtful Northern California cuisine, balancing classical methods with modern techniques to create unusual and evocative experiences for diners.
At the top of his profession in Paris, with a well-deserved three Michelin stars, Savoy has translated the best in contemporary ingredient-based French cooking to the world’s most famous gambling mecca without missing a beat. The artichoke and black truffle soup, John Dory in seaweed butter, roasted duck with turnips, and other such extravagances will remind you why French chefs got so famous in the first place.
Multi-Michelin-starred Chef Joël Robuchon’s swanky restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel offers a peaceful solace from the noise and bustle of midtown Manhattan. A sleek, minimalist interior is the backdrop for executive chef Xavier Boyer’s classical French-inspired menu (the beef and foie gras burgers with caramelized bell peppers are a must).
A Five-Diamond AAA Award-winning restaurant in both 2008 and 2009, CityZen, in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and is the place to go to celebrate or to see and be seen in D.C. Whether sitting with a view of the open kitchen or next to floor-to-ceiling windows dressed in rich, warm fabrics, diners will marvel at James Beard Award-winning chef Eric Ziebold’s talent as he serves up modern American cuisine with a sophisticated and creative touch.
The cooking is simply exquisite in this opulently furnished dining room in the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. As the first restaurant opened in America by the famed, award-winning Robuchon, commonly considered the greatest of modern French chefs, it maintains the highest standards, from its superb service and impressive (and impressively pricey) wine list to such finely crafted dishes as truffled langoustine ravioli and guinea hen with roasted foie gras and braised potatoes. The 16-course tasting menu is a truly memorable experience — as well it ought to be at $385 a head, wine not included.
For several years now, there have been rumors that French chef Georges Perrier was going to close this Philadelphia classic, but so far it keeps going strong. The food is full of modern American touches (and top-quality regional ingredients) but the finesse of the cooking and the overall feeling of the place remain attractively French.
Shellfish platters, foie gras terrine, salt cod beignets, steak frites, steamed mussels, profiteroles, and other bistro basics are on the menu at this authentic-looking French bistro reimagined in the Napa Valley — and the fact that the man behind the place is Thomas Keller means that it’s all very, very good.
Under the direction of James Beard-nominated chef Gabriel Rucker, Le Pigeon lures diners to its communal tables for hearty, imaginative, locally-sourced entrées (chicken with spätzle, blue cheese, and walnuts) and such standing-ovation-worthy desserts as honey, bacon, and apricot cornbread with maple ice cream and foie gras profiteroles. If it's a slaw-slathered burger you crave, get there early because Rucker serves up precisely five per night.
Eugene pays homage to those who grow the local produce they use right on the menu. The list typically includes around two dozen farms, dairies, and even elementary school gardens, and pays tribute to the ingredients by altering them as little as possible while making everything in the kitchen from scratch. Named as one of Food and Wine's Best Chefs of 2009, Linton Hopkins offers refined dishes, such as his wild mushroom tasting plate, that come from the ingenuously rustic roots he describes as "folkways meeting Escoffier."
Although critically-acclaimed chef Laurent Gras no longer runs the kitchen, L2O's prix-fixe-only menu reigns on as one of the best in Chicago. Diners enjoy expertly-prepared seafood and sashimi of the highest quality, sourced from around the world. L2O's bread service, featuring anchovy rolls, bite-sized pain au lait and bacon-infused twists along with house-churned butter garners rave reviews from even the most carb-fearing.
True to its name, Everest towers head and shoulders above many of Chicago's other upscale restaurants — literally, from its perch on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange Buiilding, and also gastronomically, through Alsatian-born chef Jean Joho's superlative French food. The wine list is almost as stunning as the views — above all in its collection of great wines from Joho's home region of Alsace.
One of the pioneers of modern haute cuisine in Boston, chef-owner Frank McClelland has received a host of awards at L’Espalier. (Among other things, it was the first New England restaurant to receive four stars from The Boston Globe, back in 1996.) The food served at L’Espalier is focused around local and seasonal ingredients, with particularly good seafood, and the seasonal tasting menus, at $105 and $185, are well worth trying.