Dear Matt Levin: We understand and appreciate that you are reinventing fine dining in this city, as chef at Lacroix
, no less, with daring ingredients and unorthodox cooking techniques. We see how you toy with science: charcoal sauce on abalone, and a “raspberry progression” in which the berry is presented freeze-dried and stuffed with elderflower gel; as a liquid ravioli mixed with red pepper; and fresh, sprinkled with olive oil powder. Yet you don’t force your concepts down anyone’s throat, and you never lose focus on your clientele — diners also have the option of exquisitely prepared, accessible dishes like scallops with sun-dried tomato jam. But most of all, you never forget that what you’re serving should taste good. Your Spanish octopus — silky on the inside, crispy and caramelized on the outside — was the best we’ve tasted of this trendy ingredient. We love how you never overlook the little stuff, and put as much care into writing your menu as cooking it, explaining every dish, but leaving just enough to the imagination. (The butternut squash in said octopus dish was an ice cream!) We love that you present your creatively concocted food as strikingly as it deserves to be displayed, and that your tasting menu has no rules; anyone or everyone, three, four or five courses. But most of all, we love that you take chances. You don’t always succeed, but you’ll never give up.
Pictured: Spanish octopus with butternut squash
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