How far would you travel to taste the food of the gods?
It wasn't just the warm interior of the little restaurant nestled on a dark anonymous corner. Not the shiny tin ceiling, the full, animated room, the twinkly lights or the mirrored walls. It wasn't the wooden tables and chairs, and it wasn't the no-nonsense dinner ware, the flushed faces of the servers. It wasn't the open kitchen or the blackboard. Or the cold outside. It wasn't smiles on faces, or the excitement of dressing up.
It was the cloud-like foie gras and the sharp sweet wine-cassis reduction on the (almost raw) venison and the crispy tendrils of shaved leeks everywhere and the simplicity of the brasied lamb which was humbly named after a mouse and the bitter darkness of chocolate and sorbets too intense to describe in terms other than platonic because they captured something essential about fruit, something that made all other fruits seem like so many shadows.
I remember little of the conversation. I do remember that we nearly forgot our coats.