I'm sure this doesn't come as a surprise to many of you. We went on Sat. night (we were in NYC for a 4 day visit) and, really, it was one of the best meals of my life. I started with the cepes with gnocchi, which was delicious and moved on to the monkfish wrapped in pancetta -- the only drawback was that, by the end, the pancetta was a little too rich for me. The best item by far, however, was my SO's partridge, as a first course -- I can't even begin to describe how wonderful this was. Rich, complex, yet light -- the smells wafting up from my spoonful were unbelievable. And, of course, the desserts were absolutely fantastic. It took us a while to decide (the tarte tatin and warm chocolate tart with chocolate malt shake sounded good), but we ended up with the coconut tapioca (since we were told it's their signature dessert) and the chocolate caramel tart. Both were outstanding and the caramel in the tart was the best I've ever had. What really topped the evening was the service, though. Everyone was friendly and extremely helpful (about a dozen staff must have bid us goodnight as we left), which I found somewhat surprising for a restaurant of such caliber. Our server, Jana, I think, was most excellent: she paired wines with our first courses and main entrees and the choices were unique. And, lastly, I loved the fact that we there were so many nice extras: the pre-dessert, the petit fours, and the coffee cakes we received (packaged in cellophane bags).
Some other highlights of the trip was a visit to Artisinal (I can't find such great cheeses in Orange County). We had a bottle of wine, gourgeres, and a cheese plate. I also enjoyed my visits to La Maison du Chocolate, Martine's and Marie Belle's for the requisite chocolates.