Lucques | 99 Essential Restaurants 2015

Lucques

photo by Rob Stark Photography

Now that A.O.C. has moved to its charmingly bustling new location, and Tavern is the lively, beautiful cavern it’s always been, Lucques is the last Suzanne Goin restaurant left where you can go for the quiet, civilized, gracious meal at which she excels. From the comforting fireplace that greets you upon arrival, to the back patio with its vine-covered walls, everything about the place oozes calm and refinement. Here dishes are classics spun on their heads to become something that seems even more classic than the original. Local albacore tuna served over braised leeks and potatoes with Dijon mustard and salsa verde seems like a warm, Californian riff on Niçoise salad, minus the anchovies and olives. Boudin blanc is served here over an almost Alsatian setup of cabbage, butter and dried fruit, with nods to France, Germany and Louisiana all on one plate. Here is a restaurant for special occasions and romance, for quiet conversation and a fine bottle of wine — it’s a dying breed, but none the less thrilling for being so. —Besha Rodell