He said: I like that the swirls of different stuff on the plate aren't just for decoration. All together it's like a little taste of France.
She said: The beignet preparation is a surprise too. They're normally just deep-fried fritters. I love them but they're hardly subtle. Here the chef just dipped the bottom ends in the batter, so the crunchy green tops cut the grease.
Chef Philippe Ruiz offers many plates with many surprises
She said: Parmesan, I think. That's unusual also, but not overwhelming. This mustard sauce balances the cheese. It's tangy.
He said: And fluffy, but good fluffy.
More plates arrived: poached chicken dumplings and pan-seared Hudson Valley foie gras on toasted brioche.
She said: Another pleasant surprise. These dumplings are ethereal, more like quenelles than something grandma made for Sunday dinner.
He said: But this stuff with them does taste like a holiday. What is it? Sweet potatoes?
She said: The menu said chestnut foam. It's more creamy than frothy, but it's worlds lighter than that hideously expensive imported French chestnut purée in cans. You're not eating the foie gras. Too much food for you, big guy?
He said (fretfully): No. There's something wrong with it.
She said: Pass it over. The staff's being awfully nice about all our sharing, aren't they? Oops. You're right. It's way overcooked.
It wasn't even vaguely pink; it was gray, the butteriness long gone. But this single misstep was redeemed by the final courses: Dover sole "goujonette" with celery root purée and black truffle sauce, and braised seven-hour beef.
She said: The beef sure tastes long-cooked. It's melt-in-your-mouth rich, like a confit but with red meat instead of duck.
He said: The sauce is, what's that word reviewers always use? Right: bold. The meat isn't a hunk like I expected, more like ropa vieja, and there isn't a lot of it. But it's hearty.
She said: The fish is like grouper fingers, but much more delicate. And you know how truffle sauce always just means a bunch of truffle oil splashed in? This has actual slices of truffle.
He said: The fish is very cute. I'd come back here, but next time I'd get a window table to see the pool. And I'd bring --
She interrupts: -- a magnifying glass?
He said: No. It was plenty of food for the money. I was going to say: a bathing suit.