Last night I had one of the best meals of my life at Mai House in Tribeca, where the chefs are as beautiful as the food.
When I think of the best meals I've ever had, most of them were while traveling, in situations where the ambiance was part of the meal
the smoked meat platter with black bread and butter and pastis Ethan and I had at the marmot zoo on top of a mountain in Switzerland -- was the meat marmot? we did not ask. . .
the moules frites I had as a seventeen-year-old exchange student in Belgium, where they served me wine like I was a grown-up. . .
Bouzigue oysters in the outdoor market of Carcassone, standing up and slurping them down and getting liquor all over myself. . .
a jacket potato with cheddar cheese and Branston pickle in the oldest pub in England, with Ethan, after walking miles through hayfields. . .
I've never had a meal in a New York restaurant that moved me in this same way, until last night. I was there with some of my favorite people in the world, including my muses Kate
I named a dish after Andrea once. Perhaps I should name the cocktail we had last night after Kate.
many layers of delight
1 1/2 parts Grey Goose La Poire
1 part sweet white hibiscus (they brew this in-house at Mai House)
1/2 part NV champagne, well chilled
Shake the first two ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top with champagne. Drink a few, then do a headstand.
Here is last night's menu as I recall it, though I'm sure I'm forgetting something. Everything was family style until the series of three entrees, which were plated.
spicy beef salad
raw artichoke salad
two kinds of crispy spring rolls
salt and pepper cuttlefish
mussels in some kind of insane curry coconut broth
quail with sticky rice
kumquat-glazed black cod with watermelon rind salad
braised pork shoulder with bacon -- pork on pork! the kind of dish that my grandfather, a fairly observant jew, would have said was "worth going to hell for"
fabulous whole crispy red snapper that stared at me with a funny look in its eye
smoky lamb chops that only a few of us were man enough to take down after all that pork
banana cake with tapioca and sesame ice cream
some kind of chocolate terrine
a profusion of tropical sorbets
We staggered out into the evening, happy and full, and now I must go jump ten rounds of rope. Go to Mai House now before Spike wins Top Chef and you can't get a table there any more.