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This past Saturday, I said my goodbyes to New York for the upcoming year. I’m trading the Lower East Side for Helsinki, Finland, where I’ll be living until the summer of 2013.
Before leaving the city, my (former) boss agreed to take me out for dinner and drinks in celebration. For many people, dinner with a boss would be miserable: small talk, formalities, awkward breaks in conversation. Luckily, I’ve had the opportunity to work with an insanely brilliant--and sometimes just insane--music executive whose company I greatly value (from joining him in big meetings to being tackled by him in the middle of Bleecker Street).
We went to Balthazar, a restaurant that I’d heard mentioned in television and film and that I knew as a staple in Soho. We arrived early to get stools at the zinc bar, starting off the evening with martinis, Parmesan crisps, a plate of olives, and a rack of hard boiled eggs. If this was just the bar food, I knew I was in for a great meal.
From there, we did our best to clean out the raw bar, ordering plates of twelve oysters at a time, six different varieties per plate. We washed down the brine with a bottle Sancerre, which was the perfect accompaniment. Eighteen oysters, a French onion soup, and a considerable amount of wine later, I left Balthazar understanding entirely why it has such an illustrious reputation.