Best New Restaurant - 2003
Every great restaurant begins with intense, freshly harvested flavors combined and dovetailed in harmonious combinations. Chez Spencer, a dazzling new restaurant in the classic French tradition, takes this concept to new heights. The platters created by chef Laurent Katgely are complex, exciting, and rich with possibilities; they take you on a journey from flavor to intricately unified flavor, reaching resolution with the last forkful of scallop or swallow of wine. Meltingly rare lamb chops interact with a roasted tomato confit that's so earthy and sweet it tastes like tomatohood exponentialized. Robust roasted antelope is combined with the piquancy of juniper berries and peppercorns. A grilled Angus rib-eye is paired with morels as intense as sun-dried truffles reconstituted in some fine liqueur. And in the eatery's most stunning dish, a nutty, chewy pilaf supports a tenderly roasted squab and a foie gras sauce. The industrial-chic setting doesn't detract from the restaurant's silky service and elegant demeanor, and there's a pleasant patio out front where you can sip an aperitif and contemplate the pleasures to come.