Maison Boulud

Just around the corner from Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, one finds the very Western Maison Boulud (+86.10.6559.9200, www.danielnyc.com), one of the latest fine-dining establishments from the French-cuisine powerhouse Daniel Boulud. Though Boulud is used to stately settings—his New York flagship inhabits the posh Upper East Side—the China locale is the most impressive of his restaurant stable. The elegant space, open since May 2008, resides in the former U.S. embassy where Henry Kissinger met with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai on the sly in 1971; it was also once a residence of the Dalai Lama. The neoclassical structure is set back from the urban hubbub in the gated Legation Quarter. Inside, a dramatic entrance punctuated by a sweeping mural and a double staircase does not disappoint—and neither does the food. Some dishes (such as baby-pig confit with daikon or vacherin with green-tea yogurt) incorporate Asian elements. But the menu overall—with a German-tinged Black Forest dessert and Italian angel-hair pasta with sea urchin—bears a more global imprint.