Not too many places in the world are worthy of the perfect rave.
I mean - the absolute, 100%, hands down perfection rave. But the place I ended up at last night gets it all the way.
Tucked way back down a short gravelly alley, and perched right on the river in Lambertville, NJ is Hamilton Grill House. Open fire with a chef slinging on fresh seafood. Champagne bought from the small bar across the way (it's BYOB). Smiling staff full of spot-on recommendations. Cookbooks for sale - the owner was just in last month's Food & Wine. White tablecloth without being white tablecloth. Peachy light filtering if thru the trees that flank the river. Romantic without being intimidating. Table and bar seating around the firepit. Outdoor patio seating with twinkly lights. Luxe, but casual.
Crazy good grilled caeser salad (never had that before). Tremendous oysters. Reed thin pomme frites. Giant prawns cooked in an anchovy butter sauce. Whole branzino charred up on grill, deboned and then dressed with fennel slaw. Grilled white tuna. Cobbler with homemade ice cream w/ a caramel twist.
It's just one of those meals/experiences that I almost have no words for. If I had a restaurant, it'd be along these lines.