La Belle Vie
Once a chef receives as many local and national accolades as Tim McKee, it’s tough to believe the cuisine can live up to the hype. A five- or eight-course dining experience at La Belle Vie, however, sets the record straight: McKee’s French-Mediterranean cuisine deserves all the praise it gets. The menu changes frequently, but recent dishes have included mouthwatering pumpkin cappelletti with wild mushrooms and pancetta, and grilled poussin with sautéed asparagus, chanterelle mushrooms, and cured foie gras. The stately dining room is formal, with a staff that stands at attention, waiting to knowledgeably explain the menu in exquisite detail and wipe away the crumbs between courses.
Tip: For a more relaxed meal, dine in the lounge, where an artsy crowd hangs out on overstuffed chairs and couches, ordering less-fussy favorites like the grilled lamb burger with mint yogurt and French fries with curry béarnaise.
Signature Dish: The bouillabaisse, a dining room mainstay filled with the kitchen’s daily selection of fish, prawns, and mussels; you’re encouraged to eat this “peasant meal” the way a peasant would, using an empty mussel shell to sip the saffron-infused broth.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.