it is, i think, my favorite restaurant of all time.
there, i've said it, and no, i'm not taking it back.
it is the combination of environment (somewhat minimal, somewhat elegant, somewhat rustic, all leather booths and mirrors and fireplaces and concrete floors and beamed ceilings and tented ivy-covered courtyard and flickering lights and murmurs), and service (calm, discreet, and attentive without asking you how you're doing when your mouth is full), and food.
i don't know how you classify this food.
suzanne goin made a name for herself here first, but is more well known for A.O.C., her small plate tapas celebrity extravaganza, but no, Lucques is not that place. Lucques is food you experience, without feeling self-concious. it is food you savor, perhaps the way the word was meant to be used. you begin a meal with a pat of sweet butter, almonds covered in olive oil, and coarse sea salt. you see (and this had to be explained to me), you can dip an almond in the butter, then touch it to the salt, then feel the combination of meaty flavor, butter, and rough sharp salt roll around on your tongue. and the food just gets more complex from there, without ever, EVER, being referential or absurd.
i walk into this place and feel the world slip away.
it's a gift, one they have kept going for years.
and like all good things, it's a little hard to find. you could drive right by the glossy black door and slightly hidden sign:
but since you'll be picking us up first,
we'll help you find the way.