Facing the Final Hour (not his real name) wrote the Grub Street branch of the Make a Wish Foundation, asking where he should go in what could well be his final days with a sense of taste. We put him in touch with Eric Ripert, who agreed to cook the unhappy man a Doomsday Meal. We asked for a recap of the meal, and Facing the Final Hour delivered.
This morning as I lay in bed, satiated and groggy from last night’s event, all I could think was, “I’m 24 years old, and I’ve already had the best meal of my life.” I couldn’t have dreamed of a more fitting last meal. And in retrospect it would have been more appropriate if I was on death row rather than awaiting wisdom-tooth surgery. Food and restaurant culture has always been a prominent part of this city, and with restaurants like Le Bernardin you can see why. It was very hard to step back and objectively put the whole experience into context. I can say with complete honesty that I’ve never tasted anything like last night. From the amuse of crab custard with potato foam to the heaviest savory course of escolar in a red-wine béarnaise, each dish was elevated not only by its accompanying wine, but also by the dishes that both preceded and followed. It was a controlled vision and one that speaks to Chef Ripert’s extraordinary talents. I really hope I don’t lose my sense of taste, because this meal reinforced the very reasons why I love to eat.