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Best Foodie Luxury 

Shellfish Consommé at Aqua

Best Foodie Luxury

"Luxury" is the word for Aqua. The banquettes are plush, the enormous flower arrangements are exotic and overpowering, and caviar, lobster, and rare vintage wines are on offer. But still we were dazzled by the in-your-face extravagance of the soup we began our meal with one evening. This strong-flavored shellfish consommé hinted at pounds of fish and crustacean shells and trimmings carefully simmered a long time to extract maximum flavor, and then even more carefully clarified. Floating casually in the crystalline but heady liquid was a collection of signifiers of luxury -- tiny, airy lobster quenelles, langoustine looking like dollhouse lobster tails, slivered black truffles, and a poached quail egg, added just as the soup came to the table, so its still-liquid yolk seeped into the surrounding broth when we broke into it. It cost $13 and was worth every penny.

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