Chef Todd Macdonald got applause from Jay-Z and BeyoncéIt was my last dining-out dinner before I retreated into holiday season home cooking. So I decided to spend it at NYC's Cru. After all, there was a new chef, Todd Macdonald and a new, less pricey menu. (What hasn’t changed: Robert Bohr’s unparalleled wine list—although for the holidays, he poured 1981 Krug Champagne by the glass, yippee!) Oozy Comté cheese dumplings in roasted-shallot broth were awesome, and so was the poached lobster with white-raisin puree and the Chinese-sausage-studded cassoulet.

I wasn’t the only one who had the good idea to go to Cru that night. Beyoncé and Jay-Z decided to show up, too. Like me, they loved the Comté dumplings; I didn’t try their other favorite dish, beef short ribs with crispy beets. Unlike me, they stopped at one dessert each (I think they liked the doughnuts best). And also unlike me, they had the good manners to applaud chef Macdonald when he walked by their table.