Cuisine: Jet-setting chef Alain Ducasse—who has 18 Michelin stars and oversees 22 restaurants from Tokyo to Monaco—aims for elegance that appears effortless. Ducasse’s French technique is both rigorously followed (near-perfect macarons) and thoughtfully tweaked (a halibut meunière with grapes) by his kitchen staff. The menu says the cuisine is “designed with wine in mind”—and sommelier Ramon Narvaez, a Marcel’s alum, stocks an excellent bottle collection.
Mood: A polished team of servers dotes on jacketed men and glammed-up women in a whitewashed room that melds David Rockwell’s modern design with a dark, beamed ceiling. True to the Ducasse brand, the space feels elite, with buttery-leather chairs, glass-covered wine shelves, and three semicircular private booths with gold-painted ceilings.
Best for: Diners who value wine as much as they do food.
Best dishes: Frothed cauliflower velouté with crunchy bits of blanched cauliflower and perfectly cubed croutons; flawlessly cooked halibut garnished with grapes (peeled, of course) and walnuts; foie-gras-stuffed squab breast atop cabbage (who knew it could be so airy?); hazelnut soufflé with smooth orange sorbet; meringue slices with pear chutney and maple-pecan pastry.
Insider tips: Every table gets a plate of macarons—one of the best items out of the kitchen—and house-made truffles at the end of the meal. Instead of dessert, try the cheese plate, a well-selected lineup with thoughtful condiments such as red-pepper jelly and toasted pine nuts in syrup.
Open Sunday and Monday for breakfast, Tuesday through Saturday for breakfast and dinner. Very expensive.