Food & Wine
Gliding down the Eastern Seaboard can build an appetite!
Feb. 6, 2006 08:30 AM
What better way to experience a city than through its cuisine? Though the personal chef on your megayacht may disagree, a trip down the Atlantic coastline of the United States would not be complete without dinner stops along the way. Whether you’re looking for a classic haute cuisine experience or the newest see-and-be-seen hotspot, these cities serve up the best on a nightly basis. Our top picks for every palette showcase the latest trends in the kitchen along with a dining ambiance to suit the most special occasions.
The Federalist In XV Beacon
15 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108
With more than 10,000 bottles of rare wines in its cellar and a location that is not only in prestigious Beacon Hill, but also inside its most chic hotel, The Federalist has had Bostonians buzzing since it opened. The hotel, XV Beacon, boasts an enviable address, and the décor draws inspiration for traditional New England sophistication – with a decidedly modern twist. Inside The Federalist, or The Fed, as it’s referred to by its die-hard regulars, dark wood provides a rich backdrop onto which glowing chandeliers and partially deconstructed columns draw attention.
The painstaking detail is evident not only to the eye, but also to the palette. The kitchen offers regional classics such as lobster bisque that even Martha Stewart would approve of while adding touches of whimsy and culinary surprises in the form of reformulated classics. Noteworthy is the Beef Wellington created with Hudson Valley foie gras and thyme Madeira sauce. The selection of caviar is as delightful a way to begin the meal as the artisanal cheese plate is to end it. Though the homemade ice creams are tempting, you won’t be disappointed by the Ash Bucheron from France, Roncal from Spain, Hazen Blue from Vermont, and Taleggio from Italy, which are accented by a passion fruit puree and toasted walnut levain.
Speaking of indulgence, the wine cellar, where one can even host a private dinner of up to 40 people (perfect for oenophiles) is stocked with bottles not found anywhere in the world. Included in the collection is a 1907 Heidsieck Monopole rescued for a schooner sunk by a German U-boat. And as if that weren’t legendary enough, the collection also includes 64 vintages of Chateaux Latour, 41 vintages of Lafite, 39 vintages of Chateau Petrus, and 22 vintages of Chateau d’Yquem.
90 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016
From acclaimed chef Geoffrey Zakarian, known previously for his Town restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, comes a new venture, Country. The chic restaurant pushes the revitalizing efforts of its lower Madison Avenue neighborhood measurably forward, giving foodies throughout Manhattan a reason to venture to the area. Inside the Carlton Hotel, Zakarian and his design team had a wealth of resources to tap into – most notably, original hand-laid mosaic tile from the 1920s and a striking Tiffany stained glass dome that serves as the visual center of the second floor dining room. The large two-story space is filled with intimate enclaves, such as the champagne bar upstairs, lending a cozy feeling to the dining experience. Oak paneling and sumptuous leather abound, making reference to a bygone era of American elegance with distinctly European touches here and there.
The same is true of the menu. Under the direction of Zakarian and Executive Chef Eric Psaltis, the menu is a delightful blend of American and European as well as of formal and casual. Look out for organic soft boiled eggs served with crunchy ham, croutons, and asparagus marmalade; lobster soup with lobster salpicon and fennel cream; duck frisee lardon salad, which features a Chinese-style ducklet, remoulade and pickled red onions; and fresh and crisp market salads with herbs, greens, and shaved vegetables. Standouts also include the salt and pepper shrimp as well as the lamb gyro with yoghurt and hummus.
Though only the downstairs floor, the Café at Country, has been fully operational since October, the second floor dining room has hosted select parties. Featuring a massive, open kitchen, chef’s table, and banquet facilities, the second floor dining room is the epitome of Beaux Arts elegance.
707 G Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
The perfect blend of refinement and trendiness, Inde Bleu is the “it” spot of Washington D.C. Everyone from the city’s young and hip crowd to visiting sports celebrities to the who’s who of Capitol Hill counts Inde Bleu as a local favorite. Housed in a former art gallery downtown, the multilevel 10,000 square foot space has room enough for several purposes and ambiances. Upon entering, patrons are welcomed by a space-age bar (usually packed with the city’s most beautiful people). Further into the space is the multicolored, cushy lounge, replete with couches, space-age seating pods, private nooks, and romantic crannies. Fun DJs create the mood with a variety of world beats. A lounge menu is available for those who get the munchies, but the main action is the inventive cocktail menu. Inde Bleu’s mixologists have created more than 50 specialty drinks to tempt and please even the most adventurous fun seekers. Bottle service is available for those who want to settle in for a while.
Upstairs, though lively, has a decidedly more sophisticated ambiance where the focus is squarely on the food. Beautifully appointed dining rooms on the second floor are bustling without verging on the frenetic. The menu is set up for a four-course dining experience, although it is possible to order a la carte as the diner’s preference dictates. Chef Vikram Garg creates dishes for maximum impact, blending traditions, spices, and styles of France and India. Start with the rabbit confit samosa on apple chutney with rum raisin jus and toasted pistachio or white tandoori shrimp with shaved fennel, chiffonade of romaine, and artisanal goat cheese to whet your appetite for the flavor fusions in store. The seared foie gras sandwich with rose petal marmalade and garam masala brioche is a favorite of the next course’s offerings, while main course standouts include the pan-seared tenderloin of veal with cardamom sweet bread sauce, stuffed tandoori potato and garden fava beans, as well as the tandoori lamb rack with green lentil ragout, grilled Portobello, and sauce mojito. Despite the multitude of offerings, there are truly only two ways to end the meal – either the Basmati rice and kaffir lime brulee with winter berries or the Choco Sutra, what Inde Bleu describes as “an orgy of chocolate over brandied cherries in pomegranate glaze.” This is fantasy food come to life!
Prime One Twelve
112 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Don’t let word steakhouse fool you – Prime One Twelve is no ordinary hunk-of-beef-and-baked-potato kind of place. Part of owner Myles Chefetz’s culinary empire that includes Nemo, Shoji Sushi, and Big Pink, Prime One Twelve is tucked into the South-of-Fifth-Street neighborhood of ever-trendy South Beach. In the historic Browns Hotel, the restaurant was designed by Alison Antrobus to create a “sexy, sophisticated steakhouse” using the concepts of suspension and the interplay between permanence and impermanence. Also preserved from the original hotel were the hexagon mosaic tiles at the entrance and vestibule as well as broken colorful tile in the lobby.
Though foodies and critics are prone to argument over whose beef is the best in the city, there is frankly very little room for debate that Prime One Twelve serves not only the best in Miami, but also some of the best in the country. As with many fine meals, the best way to begin is with caviar. Prime One Twelve serves a selection of Sevruga or Ossetra caviar with all the traditional accompaniments. Other great starts include the pan-seared diver scallops and the yellowfin tuna tartare. However, the main event is clearly the steak. For the serious, only the 12-ounce filet mignon will do, although a 48-ounce porterhouse meant for two (at least!) is great for sharing. The selection of sauces takes the experience to another sensory level – try the Prime 112 Steak sauce, the Bearnaise, Cabernet, or Chimichurri. The variety of butters is tempting too, especially the truffle, gorgonzola, or chipotle lime. Though the filet mignon is a natural choice, the 1-pound Kobe hamburger is delicious, and they even serve a Kobe beef hot dog.
Reservations for dinner or even lunch are coveted because Prime One Twelve plays host to the city’s most powerful wheeling and dealing. So, call ahead for your next power lunch or celebratory dinner.