It's not everyday you come across an Escoffier dish at a restaurant, but having one at chef Grant Achatz's restaurant, Alinea, kind of makes sense. Not because you feel like the chef has anything to prove about demonstrating technique, but because hey, the truly great artists didn't just start out by going free-form, they actually learned classic technique and knew how to draw first. Here, with "Agneau," an Elysian Fields lamb loin was served on croutons with asparagus tips, artichoke hearts, chorron sauce (like a béarnaise but with tomato purée), and Yukon Gold potatoes. If this is part of what inspired Next's Paris 1906 menu, the folks who got to sample the full tasting truly were lucky. And for these reasons this dish made my list of most memorable meals of 2011.