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St. Regis, New York City

Michael Frank
From the Print Edition:
Fidel Castro, Summer 94

(continued from page 1)

After leaving the table to make an urgent call, one guest returned to find his half-consumed espresso missing. The waiter explained that he didn't want it to get cold and then replaced it with a fresh cup.

The perfection extends to the hotel's restaurant, Lespinasse, where Swiss chef Gray Kunz presides over the stoves. The high ceilings and soft decor are subtly reminiscent of a French château. Fixed-price menus cost $51 and $67. Some outstanding dishes include a taro-crisped salmon with syrah reduction and rack of lamb on a spiced eggplant tart with carrot emulsion. Be prepared. Kunz is one of the most talented chefs working in New York today.

The wine list is straightforward. Some interesting buys include a Château Woltner, Howell Mountain St. Thomas Chardonnay, 1990, $59, an Etienne Sauzet Bâtard-Montrachet, $219 and a Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage Blanc, Le Chevalier de Sterimberg, 1989, $62. Red wines include a Caymus Special Selection, Cabernet Sauvignon 1988, $105, a 1966 Mouton-Rothschild, $520, a 1979 Ducru-Beaucaillou, $83, and from Burgundy, a Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret, Echézeaux, Vielles Vigne, 1990, $119.

After dinner there is, of course, more than one place in which to smoke a cigar. The King Cole bar, with its original Maxfield Parrish mural of the old king, is a lovely retreat (ask the bartender for the Dunhill humidor), and there is the Salon, just off the lobby, where one could easily sit for hours admiring the original furniture and 1904 fireplace.

It's nice to know that, at least at the St. Regis, cigars, service, fine food and elegant surroundings are aspects of lodging still worth the extra expense.

-- Michael Frank

St. Regis
Two East 55th Street at Fifth Avenue
Phone: (800) 759-7550 or (212) 753-4500
Room Rates: $350, standard double; $575, suite

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