When a restaurant has been part of the fabric of a city there is a certain sadness when it decides to close. As the old adage goes, it feels like the end of an era. Last weekend I had what will be my final meal at Fleur de Lys. After 40 years in business (28 of them with Hubert Keller at the helm) the restaurant will serve its final meal on June 28.
In a city where minimalist rules the day, Fleur de Lys was anything but. It was unabashedly continental with its white linen clad tables and formal place settings. Instead of stark and cold, its fabric draped walls and canopy ceiling were warm and luxurious. Grandiose flower arrangements injected romance into the low-lit dining room. In a sea of ever drifting sameness, Fleur de Lys managed to have its own identity.
We chose the three-course menu with the wine pairing. For my appetizer, local petrale sole with Dungeness crab, sea urchin and caviar olive oil with potato puree and toasted bacon puree. The highlight of the meal though was the entree of braised Wagyu Kobe beef cheeks with a soft poached egg and root vegetables. The perfect sweet ending was the chocolate soufflé with cherry and Kirsch ice cream. The meal was the fond farewell we wanted to have.
Long after the plates have been cleared and the lingering flavors dissipate, what you are left with from a dining experience is the feeling it gave you. In a city where there is a constant revolving door of restaurants, Fleur de Lys had staying power and managed to make a mark on the city and its people.