La Côte Basque
60 West 55th Street
Finding a good cassoulet in Manhattan is about as easy as finding a good burger in, say, Toulouse. Unless, of course, you slip into La Côte Basque, where chef and proprietor Jean-Jacques Rachou has been brewing up the ultimate gourmet version of this ultimate comfort dish for decades. Chef Rachou's Toulousian recipe contains slices of pork and garlic sausage, a single perfectly formed pork sausage, white beans, duck confit, and foie gras drippings, among other comforting items. It has a pleasurable light-caramel tinge to it and a faint aroma of onions, garlic, and burnt sugar. It's cooked in a proper crock but served in a white china bowl with a daub of mustard spooned onto the rim. Eat a helping a week (with a dozen oysters and a glass of Gigondas) and you won't crave a burger ever again, we guarantee.