By Wyatt Keller
Fancy restaurants to take a date to can be hit or miss, but with L’atelier you can never miss. L’atelier is a French dining-style restaurant on Pearl Street in the fine dining Boulder area mainly considered as a special occasion restaurant due to the prices. When taking a date out for an anniversary or a birthday, L’atelier exceeds expectations. With 4.5 stars on their review, my girlfriend had decided it was time for me to finally try some French food. For my 20th birthday, my girlfriend and I went to L’atelier again to make sure the experience wasn’t a one time success.
When first arriving at L’atelier, the front of the restaurant sticks out on Pearl Street. The design of the door and windows shows the classy style they hold and is protected by a small fence and two tables on the outside. The atmosphere of the restaurant is warm and quiet. Every table is covered in white cloth and then a plastic white mat, but what really stuck out were the towels that were folded up and placed inside the wine glasses. The silverware and glasses gleaned spotless and were placed so precisely, like the waiters used rulers and calculated the distance between the seats and silverware. We were seated in a booth with a dim light above it, as if our dinner was lit by candle light. Looking around the floors were clean as was everything else, and the whole place was decorated with glass pieces like chandeliers and art, giving the fancy restaurant vibe.
We’ve had three different waiters in our two trips there. The first time we went, our host seated us with a smile, brought our drinks out instantly and answered every question clearly. Our waiter was kind and helped me decide on a meal but then had to leave and introduced our new waiter who greeted us with a half bow. The second waiter gave me an idea of what having a butler would be like. Every few minutes, he would check up on us with a smile and truly looked like he enjoyed serving. He cleared the table before he brought the food out and explained the highlights of the food as he placed it in front of us. He was even so quick to refill our drink that we never hit the bottom of our glasses. At the end of the day, he walked us out and thanked us for coming in that night. L’atelier has some one of the best servers in the world working so hard for them that it made the restaurant comfortable like home.
The menu is changed up on a daily basis, but every dish is a great new experience. The first time we went, I ordered the duck in duck, and my lady ordered the lamb chops (rare). As appetizers, we had the salmon plate and tuna carpaccio; both meals came out on the plate like artwork. Each tomato and line of sauce placed carefully and exactly where planned. Every bite I took explained to me that I’ve been eating the wrong things all my life. The sauce across the salmon was sweet and full of flavor, and the salmon gave a clean texture. Then the duck in duck came out as a great portion, dark brown, steaming with heat with a cooked duck sitting in a blood red, brown sauce. With the first bite, it was easy to tell the sauce was cherry-based and sweet, and the duck was cooked perfectly and tender. It took no effort to cut through the duck, and everytime I wanted to take a bite, I dared not skip out on the sauce. Next, the lamb chops were cooked rare as asked and had their own sauce, and with one bite, it was easy to tell that the lamb chops were tender and juicy. The second time we went, we ordered the lobster ravioli and filet mignon.
Compared to the first visit, the lobster ravioli did not compare to the duck but was still a successful meal. The sauce was a little too oily, but the meal tasted great and was a great experience. The filet mignon shined with a glaze on top of it and tasted as great as it looked being rich, with juice and cooked with high quality, top of the shelf veggies. If restaurants were reviewed just by their food, L’atelier would be five stars.
When the bill arrived, my hand hesitated when I reached for it; maybe I should just run. As expected from a fancy place, the bill was triple digits for two people. The food was amazing, but as a part-time worker and college student, the $104 bill, without the tip, hit me in the chest. Wanting to give a good tip for the great service, but also wanting to have money to eat tomorrow caused a hard decision of what tip to give.
When looking for a fancy place to take a date in Boulder, L’atelier is a first pick if you can afford it. The restaurant exceeds expectations with God-worthy food, great hospitality and a fancy view of dining. The restaurant earned a B+, and would’ve been 100 percent if they had their own building and removed their plastic table covers so there is a white tablecloth dinner. Altogether, this experience is one that I look forward to having again.