It's no secret that I love a good meal out. I feel pretty fortunate to have had some over-the-top dining experiences. Thomas Keller's French Laundry was a glimpse into dining perfection where at one point during the flawless meal, I mentioned being near tears at the entire gastronomic experience, and the next thing I knew, the waiter was bringing me a box of kleenex. I should have mentioned a kink in my neck to test how far this level of service extended.
Then there was Grant Achatz's Alinea in Chicago which was pure dining theatre. I found myself beyond giddy when each course was described, unveiled and sometimes unexpectedly discovered already sitting on the table as decoration. I wanted to get up and applaud after each course. I didn't think I could love Achatz anymore after personally receiving his handmade - smoke filled dessert served directly on the tablecloth, until I read his memoir Life on the Line, recounting his horrific battle with tongue cancer during his climb to the top of the culinary kingdom. Great read. Great man. Fantastic restaurant.
And then there's Noma. I can't say any of the above reservations were easy to get, but Noma was in a class by itself. It's been named the number one restaurant in the world for the last three years by Restaurant Magazine. With 20,000 people trying to get one of the 35 seats in the restaurant, it's nothing short of a miracle that I was able to dine here, which I must confess came down to having a very nice, and very connected friend. Noma combined the precision of the French Laundry with the theatre of Alinea for a 5 hour meal, consisting of 27 different plates. It was truly an unbelievable experience, and if you want the play by play of each and every taste, take a read here, and I recommend doing that on an empty stomach. Bon Appetit!