The Four Seasons Restaurant

99 East 52nd Street

New York, NY 10022

(212) 754 – 9494

April 2007

The Four Seasons is a Manhattan landmark. The gorgeous rooms, which were designed by Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson, represent a timeless elegance that is just as remarkable today as it was in 1959 when the restaurant first opened its doors.

Managing Partner Julian Niccolini holds court, personally greeting his guests, many of whom are luminaries from political and economic circles. At night the ambience transforms dramatically, especially in the Pool Room. With its large lit pool that reflects soft light onto the walls and ceiling, the Pool Room remains one of New York’s most evocative and romantic spots. Although the cuisine is best described as contemporary American, Niccolini keeps a supply of the finest Italian cured meats and cheeses on hand, not to mention superb white truffles that are available in season. There may be trendier restaurants in New York, but there are few places where diners will eat as well as at The Four Seasons.

We started with a delicious platter of Kumamoto oysters which we enjoyed with a tasty Crémant whose name I forgot to write down. The langoustines and cucumber fettuccine that followed were delicately seasoned and quite tasty. One of the evening’s highlights was undoubtedly the day boat scallops generously topped with caviar. At this point the dinner could have come to a close and I would have been perfectly happy, but there was more to come. The risotto with morels and peas was the quintessential expression of spring. Long Island duck with rhubarb compote is one of The Four Seasons’ signature dishes and crispy, roasted duck proved to be an ideal match for our sturdier wines. The Kobe beef took things to another level, with its superb flavor intensity and sensual texture. A timeless classic, the Grand Marnier soufflé was a decadent dessert with which to conclude this delicious dinner.

I was curious to see how several vintages of Tenuta San Leonardo’s flagship wine San Leonardo had aged. San Leonardo is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc and 10% Merlot produced in the Veneto. It is an expression of Cabernet that tends towards herbs, spices and delicate fruit given that comes from a relatively cool microclimate. With the exception of the 1993, all of the wines were surprisingly deeply colored and fresh.

The 1993 San Leonardo was the only wine that appeared to be fully mature. It revealed gorgeous aromatics but was somewhat lean in its expression of baking spices, tobacco, roasted coffee beans and soft, perfumed fruit. Its delicate personality worked surprisingly well with our first courses. I loved the 1997 San Leonardo. Made in a decidedly riper style, its generous, opulent fruit, rich texture and inner sweetness offered a nice balance to its herbal flavors. At ten years of age, its color intensity and vibrancy were surprisingly primary. The 1999 San Leonardo was quite a bit leaner in body, with expressive aromatics and pretty fruit although the oak remained prominent. The estate’s 2000 San Leonardo was the only wine in this group that was somewhat of a disappointment. Its tertiary leather and spice cake notes and modest depth conveyed an impression of a relatively evolved wine of modest complexity. Fortunately the best was saved for last. Served alongside the Kobe beef, the 2001 San Leonardo was terrific. Made in a nuanced, elegant style, it revealed gorgeous layers of ripe fruit, sweet spices, herbs and toasted oak on a medium-bodied frame of notable finesse.


Chilled Kumamoto oysters

Langoustines with cucumber fettuccine and lime broth

Softshell crab with mustard emulsion

Dayboat scallops topped with caviar

Risotto with morels and spring peas

Long Island duck with rhubarb compote

Kobe beef with tempura vegetables

Selection of cheeses

Grand Marnier soufflé


1993   Tenuta San Leonardo IGT San Leonardo  90

1997   Tenuta San Leonardo IGT San Leonardo  91

1999   Tenuta San Leonardo IGT San Leonardo  89

2000   Tenuta San Leonardo IGT San Leonardo  88

2001   Tenuta San Leonardo IGT San Leonardo  92

[Photo and credit: Four Seasons restaurant, New York]

--Antonio Galloni