My husband and I are all about the cheap delicious eats, but once a year we like to go all out and enjoy a chef's tasting menu at an acclaimed restaurant. A few years ago we tried Bastide just after it opened and had an incredible 9-course experience paired with wine.
The following year we tried Valentino's tasting menu, sighing and moaning through every course of Italian deliciousness.
Last year we treated my parents to Spago's chef's tasting menu paired with wine for their 45th anniversary. The meal lasted 4.5 hours and we got to shake hands with Wolfgang Puck. The food was simply outstanding--it blew everything else out of the water. It was supposed to be 7 courses, but after all the rounds of hors d'oeuvres and the three rounds of foie gras (which they count as a single course), it seemed like we'd eaten 20. We truly felt like royalty.
This year my husband turns 30 and I want to treat him to a sublime dining experience to rival Spago's, but realized that it probably is impossible unless we make the 7-hour drive to Yountville and try the French Laundry--and that's only if we could ever get reservations, which I've learned from experience is almost impossible.
So what's a girl to do? Is there another restaurant in or around town you would recommend? I'm up for everything other than Japanese cuisine. Multiple courses of raw fish just isn't our thing.
I've heard good things about Aubergine in Newport Beach. Anyone eaten there before?
Thanks in advance for taking the time to post your suggestions and recommendations.