It's unpredictable. You can fall in love at first sight or over a long time. And there are no rules (despite what you've read). I was nuts for Tom Collichio's food at Gramercy Tavern in New York from the first bite of the first dish I tasted (foie gras au torchon, at an unforgettable lunch on a lovely spring day), but it took me considerably longer to warm up to his cooking at the nearby Craft (a dinner one crisp fall night, from which all I remember is a dish of sautéed hen-of-the-woods mushrooms in a shiny copper pan). Part of the long, slow seduction involved sampling sandwiches at his unassuming 'Wichcraft next door. Conversely, I didn't get Wylie Dufresne's cooking at N.Y.'s Clinton Fresh Foods, which I found overpraised, but I can remember every bite of the extraordinary dinner I had a number of months ago at the city's WD/50: foie gras topped with anchovies, pork belly with fava beans,... More >>>