|The lobster bisque|
I received the invitation through the Four Seasons' email list -- $50 for three courses (and what turned out to be several amuse bouche's) and a champagne toast, in celebration of their fifty years. I stayed on the wait list for several weeks, before receiving a kind call from the maitre d'hotel that I had made it into the dinner. Was I excited? Having never had Beef Wellington or Baked Alaska, why yes, yes I was.
I probably don't need to tell you that my Sidecar, served with the classic sugar rim, was amazing. It's precisely this kind of place that can make a perfect Sidecar.
Was the food great? Of course it was. But what makes the Four Seasons special is its consistent priority on service and reliability. Whether it's the maitre d' personally introducing himself to me, or how, when I used to walk to work every day past it, the door man would go out of his way to say hello, the Four Seasons remembers what great manners and service mean. The excellent food is superfluous.
The Four Seasons is located at 18th and the Parkway, Philadelphia, http://www.fourseasons.com/philadelphia/.