Some Like It Haute

It's a Friday afternoon on a balmy Paris day, and lunch at the sixth arrondissement restaurant Maxence is in full swing. In the long, narrow dining room with its mustard-colored walls and polished parquet floor, a waiter proffers an amuse-bouche of crème de langoustine à l'orange to a couple of businessmen, while across the room another waiter walks a diner through the 45 Burgundies on the 18-page wine list. Over the course of the next few hours, dish after sumptuous dish — roast foie gras of duck served on a slice of gingerbread, sautéed redfish fillets, pigeon stew with cream of...

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