PAYARD PATISSERIE & BISTRO
1032 Lexington Ave.
Philippe Bertineau must be the most criminally unheralded chef in New York,possibly because you have to get past those cases filled with François Payard’ssugary sorcery to get to a place where you can enjoy his talents. But his giftsbeautifully complement his benefactor’s, and every night he offers a differentfive-course tasting menu. One meal started with a tuna-sashimi canapé, followedby Maine crab with Oakwood shiitakes, Chatham cod and sweet onions with creamypolenta, roasted pheasant breast and leg confit with apples and black-trumpetmushrooms, then ended with a crêpe Napoleon in a blood-orange coulis and achocolate cube filled with caramel and caramel ice cream. Hearty and heavenlyfrom start to finish, and $68 for the whole deal. The tasting menu at AlainDucasse is $225. Anyone daring enough these days to say it’s only money?