new: studio in copenhagen
what is a nearly perfect meal? it is an idiosyncratic confluence of elements, the sum of parts. it has almost nothing to do with expense, other than that special dinners draw people together and place them in a suitable and shared frame of mind. this can be done anywhere, which is why this is not a list of restaurants but a list of meals. this can also be done for nearly any price, which is why some of these meals involve pancakes.
i now realise what everyone who opens an ambitious restaurant knows: it takes enormous effort to reproduce reliably what sometimes unexpectedly and serendipitously materialises when people get together to cook or eat.
in most of these cases, the food was confident and made with care, the beverages appropriate (but often not exalted), the company incomparable. some of these places i've been to many times, some only once. in every case, the particular perfection of the meal has not been reproducible in other places and at other times. your mileage may vary.
studio; frederiks have; kødbyens fiskebar; noma; ved stranden 10
chheng sim; les deserteurs
10 greek street; 40 maltby street; otto's; st. john bread and wine; kandoo; brawn; taberna do mercado; morning coffee at mother's milk; saturday afternoon tea at postcard
shunsui; gesshinkyo; tsuru ni tachibana (with updates from our japanese correspondent)
kiss; quince; minako; greens; food inc (for their tuna niçoise sandwich on either a sunny day or a rainy one); pagolac; chapeau!; firefly; jackson fillmore; pancake sunday 5.13.07
chez panisse; the cheeseboard
hungry mother; bondir; cooking with fire and clay; morning coffee at hirise
bay leaf cafe (yellow lentil sambar soup, on a wet day); homma's (outside on a warm summer night)
galatoire's, the parkway bakery
green pasture; fuli seafood