I had an incredible experience dining for the first time at the Ritz Dining Room last Saturday. I've eaten several times at French Laundry and I have to say, this place is just as wonderful.
Apples and oranges, I know--- FL and Ritz are very different places, philosophies. But the bottom line is that I felt I was part of an amazing, decadent experience. Which I like.
First of all, the service was absolutely beyond reproach. They understood our mood, goals for the evening (celebrating my best gal pal's bday), and treated us like queens, but without formality or condescension.
I read that Ron Siegel brought virtually his entire Masa's crew over with him, and it showed. Course after course, we were blown away by the food...a surprisingly luxurious sunchoke soup, a heady, rustic pork belly dish that nearly made me cry with its trio of rich, sinewy, and crisp textures...and loin of rib eye with such incredible flavor that I realized once and for all that this is the best possible cut of beef.
The wine list is incredible, but moreover, it offers enough half bottle options to give us the flexibility we wanted, aided with insight from sommelier Stephane. He actually makes the effort to taste half bottle formats, mindful that they age differently than full bottle format. That is as impractical as it is rare and impressive.
I cant even begin to talk about the cheese cart (my friend dubbed it Musee de Fromage for its Edwardian-style grandeur) or even the mignardise suffice it to say, if you are thinking of going to one of the newer, more buzzed-about restaurants in town at this price range, go here first and remind yourself what everyone else in town is aiming for: perfection.