Under City Lights

Field Report No. 20160426RC

Topic: A table for two
Conditions: Expertly sophisticated


COMMENTS: When it's the season for prom, the city center seems to crawl with long limousines and sparkle with sequins on Saturday nights. When my wife mentions the prospect of chaperoning for the school where she teaches, I feign reluctance. But I love to see her shine, not only in a nice dress, but as she greets the students who have become beloved to her over the previous four years. But before we engage ourselves in the glamorous work of the coat check room, we make a real date out of it. We dress up, drop the kids off, and head to Santé Restaurant & Charcuterie, our go-to fine dining spot for special occasions, nestled within the Liberty Building. The meal starts off well, and gets better. We're greeted by not one, but two charming Frenchmen, whose accents make each ingredient sound even more delicious. I opt for the bartender's whim (my instructions "effervescent, acidic, spirit-forward") and the chicken dish; my date chooses white whine and the lentils, one of the menu's vegetarian options. 

KEY FEATURES: It's never a bad sign when your companion utters the sentence, "I didn't know food could be this good." These are moments when you understand food as art in an entirely new way. The dim, high-ceilinged dining room feels both modern and warm, and the conversation wanders happily, like couples outside under city lights. 

RECOMMENDATIONS: Trust the bartender's choices and the server's insights. They take their craft seriously. Ask to add thirteen dollars to your tab to buy a round of beer or soda for the kitchen--they earn it.