Best Menu - 2004
The measure of a great menu is the way it makes you consider the future. How long can I sit here eating before I'm kicked out? How much of this can I try before I burst? And how long before I can afford to come back? At L'Atelier, the answers to those questions are, in order: not long, not enough, and not soon enough. Everything on chef Radek Cerny's wonderland board of fare is an amazing and singular creation -- sometimes derivative, often strange, always delicious. The appetizer list alone, with its sweetbreads, tartares and artistic small bites, is enough to keep you coming back for months. From there, the menu expands outward, covering dozens of dishes from the land and sea, each arriving decked out in myriad sauces, demis, reductions and oils that should make even the most indiscriminate gluttons happy. In all, the menu is a piece of poetry, Cerny's ode to his years spent serving the public, to the friends he's made and the friends he's lost. And at L'Atelier, this poem is being performed nightly for your benefit.