My unabashed respect for this restaurant continues. I wrote about Canlis a few years ago after the Missus and I visited for the first time. It was the best meal I’d ever eaten. It epitomized “the best reality.” Returning last month I hoped that it would be just as perfect (which is about the only word that I can think of when it comes to eating–nay, experiencing–Canlis because the beautiful and invisible architecture that they’ve erected quietly guides you through an evening that is transformative and escapist).
To me, the previous visit had been about the incredible customer experience that Canlis has and continues to somehow improve. The details, the service, the cohesion, the way that we felt immediately easy and welcome. The food was incredible but the service is what I remembered. This time the food and wine eclipsed it all…
We ordered the pre fix menu. Heidi ordered the standard wine course and I requested the sommeliers pairings. 9 courses–nuanced, graceful, challenging, new, provocative, arresting, subtle, rich, soft, sequenced. I’m running out of adjectives but the design and crafting and delivery were out of this world. And here’s what blows my mind about that evening: I felt like I was eating the chef’s thought process about how he wanted us too feel or react. It was like the kitchen was sending an embedded message in each course. At some point I literally said “I think he wants us to taste the sea…” or “This is a taste of loamy verdant earth.” Somewhere between an oyster and a transparent slice of A5 beef we all just stopped talking and let the food do it for us. That sounds bizarre but it all sung beautifully. It is the best meal I’ve ever eaten.
“To be or not to be.” There’s a difference between doing and being. There are places that “do” food (“We do steaks” or “We do fish”). There aren’t that many places that be-come extraordinary. Doing is perfunctory. Being is a matter of choice. Doing is rote. Being is inspired. To me, Canlis is being the spirit of invention and hospitality that results in the remarkable.
Again, thank you Canlis. Thank you for the memories and the macaroons.