A couple nights ago we finally made it to one of Ron Siegel's restaurants when we had dinner at the Ritz-Carlton Dining Room. Now we know what all the fuss is about, and Mr. Siegel has two more fans!
I'm not a big enthusiast of tasting menus, since I find that the meal gets a bit diffuse with so many courses. So I was delighted to see a themed tasting menu available revolving around the use of different salts and peppers! Besides being delicious cooking, it really focused the attention on the differences in salt and pepper seasoning among the dishes. And it reminded me how much I do love salt and pepper.
You can see the full menu in the link below. For me, the toro dish was the star of the show, but the duck, beef, foie gras, and dessert courses were also magnificent. The Malaysian white, Pondicherry, and Tasmanian peppers where standouts, as were the Maldon Sea and Bolivian Rock salts. My wife had a standard three-course meal (hot foie gras, striped bass with oxtail, and an apple ginger charlotte) that was also outstanding.
The three amuses - chestnust soup, sashimi, and sea urchin panna cotta - were a perfect start. My wine consumption has to be limited these days, which was a shame considering the outstanding list with lots of mature vintages, and the wonderful pairings I saw going to other tables ordering tasting menus. But the regular by-the-glass selection is outstanding, and my wife's glasses of Champagne and Chassagne-Montrachet along with my glass of Lancaster Alexander Valley Cabernet (their Estate Red) were wonderful. I know a lot of Alexander Valley wines, but Lancaster is new to me; it went superbly with the ribeye course. We'll definitely have to visit on our next trip there.
Thanks to all chowhounds for pointing us to the Ritz, and a happy 2006 to everyone!