The Four Seasons Co-owner Julian Niccolini under the Picasso
When a restaurant with the pedigree and history of the Four Seasons in NYC has a 50th birthday party and one is lucky enough to be invited, one is likely to make every effort to get there. Driving down from upstate NY for the evening, my wife and I certainly did and so did approximately one thousand others including many legends of the culinary world, including people that I knew or recognized such as Drew Nieporent, Ruth Reichl, George and Jenifer Lang, Michael Lomonaco and others. Aside from those I recognized, there was sufficient sartorial splendor to suggest that the Four Seasons reputation as a bastion of the wealthy and powerful is not just history. From the perspective of people watching alone, the evening was fascinating and worthwhile.
Thankfully, people watching wasn't the only benefit to the evening. With plenty of champagne and other libations flowing from the open bars and hors d'ouvres making their way around the rooms, good food and drink were flowing. The list of hors d'ouvres included:
Lobster Summer Truffle
Spring Rabbit Oven
Dried Tomato Sausage
Spicy Octopus Ceviche
Merken Olive Oil
Passion Fruit Razor
Foie Gras Macaroon
with Rose Petal Jam
Oysters, Cucumber Salsa, Hibiscus Salt
Chilled Sweet Pea
Soup, Chanterelle Foam
Spiced Loin of Lamb, Yogurt Sauce
Wagu Pigs in Blanket
Wild Salmon Confit,
Smoked Salmon, Vegetable Cones
burgers, Onion Confit, Wasabi Mayonnaise
Crabmeat Cake Sliders
Jalapeno Banana Curry
Steamed Pork Buns amongst others.
While all were tasty,the favorite of the evening for both my wife and I was the Olympia
Oysters, Cucumber Salsa, Hibiscus Salt. The cucumber salsa provided an unexpected pleasant contrast to the brininess of the oysters. While I usually prefer oysters served simply with a squeeze of lemon, I could have eaten these all night. The ceviches were also favorites.
Drew Nieporent, Jenifer and George Lang
The Four Seasons was one of the first premiere restaurants I had ever dined at. It was also the scene of the start of a family tradition when we celebrated my brother's 50th birthday there back in the mid-90's. I had been back a number of times since then, but prior to last night's visit, we had not been for a number of years. The room remains as spectacular as ever and while a bit austere, it is seductive. That both the restaurant and I started our journeys during the same year provided an added reason to make the effort to travel down to pay homage to this true temple of dining. My wife and I were glad that we did.