NEW YORK, NY
I was quite disappointed with my meal here overall so forgive me if I do not remember the names, ingredients or experiences that I had with the dishes. The words flow from my mind with a good meal as the story is crafted and communicated clearly by the chef. My view of the menu and meal overall here was just confused. Presentations were not up to par with restaurants that have less stars and I sent back quite a few plates to the point where what I was served at the end of the meal was drastically different from the menu that was presented at start. Anyway, not all meals can be perfect but I definitely expected more from here
We start with the only one of the amuse bouche that I thought was worth a photo… and I do not even remember its name. I think a part of the problem is that I have had Daniel on such a high pedestal for as long as I can remember and this just fell short of expectations
The second of the plates that you see above is yet another dish that was not memorable but I see apple and maybe salmon? I think there may have been balsamic and creme fraiche elements on the plate as well? Who knows, it was as much dissatisfying as was the glass of champagne that was recommended as a good pairing
This dish was the watercress salad with hazelnut toast. This might have been the worst plate but if you keep on reading and see that I changed my mind, do not be surprised. The watercress did not taste fresh here at all. I think it is safe to say that it tasted a few days old. There was a significant amount of minced ginger and black pepper atop the dish as well which led to an uncomfortable spice tasting. I almost choked given the amount of black pepper sprinkled. The hazelnut toast provided no noticeable addition to the plate whether taste or texture wise
This was the scallop with fennel, osetra caviar and horseradish vinaigrette. I do not believe there is a plate of food with caviar that I have ever met which I have not liked. Enter this dish… There was a crisp crunch of raw vegetable texture here brought on by the fennel. The taste of this plate had a long lasting finish with a very strong scent of the Meyer lemon squeezed atop for brightness. I need to be explicitly clear that the long lasting taste on the palate was not plesant. I did find the scent of the lemon quite lovely trying to extend it as long as possible considering the other sensory experiences that I was having
This is the abalone thinly sliced in shell with aged miso emulsion, artichokes purée and yuba skin chips. Finally! An amazing plate! One of the few that I was served that evening. They did cheat though as this was loaded with butter so obviously it was a winner. There seemed to be flour in the emulsion (possibly a thickening agent) which was a problem for my two month hiatus from flour. The shell was placed on a big mound of rock salt and being someone who tries everything on my plate… well that was unpleasant. It might be advisable to remove that from the plating or give a warning as is done at Batard. The abalone was firm and required quite a bit of effort to get a decent bite. I believe the purée was artichoke but it tasted like asparagus and potatoes at times which was a bit odd.
This was the grilled yellowfin tuna with brussel sprouts, parsnip and sauce financiere (a port wine reduction). There was nothing notable about this plate except that the brussel sprouts were crispy. Given this, my attention was left to wonder which led me to realize that the flowers at my table were… plastic. I could not believe it and I actually tried to cut of a piece of the leaf to disprove my assumption… but no. That frustration led me to review the family of restaurants here which is the Boulud family. I should have known not to make a reservation given that I have had similarly unsatisfying experiences at the other restaurants.
Squab with some sort of interesting lettuce purée and green asparagus. I think you already know where I am going here. Well I will give them the compliment that it had quite a good scent on initial inhale. The spices tingled my nose beautifully which was very exciting to me. I mean if it smells good, it has to taste good right?… no. What was a gentle and delicately beautiful waft on the nose ended being an assault on my taste buds. There was too much going on that I could not really get a handle on the direction that chef was trying to take here. There was too much salt and even more black pepper that led me to almost choke on the dish. This was the second plate of the night that had far too much black pepper. I had asked for a wine that would pair nicely with the plate but what was placed in front of me made it taste even worse if you can imagine that. The only saving grace here was that the temperature on the squab was good and it tasted okay at times if tasted without everything else on the plate. Needless to say, I did not finish this plate and quite frankly I gave up on the rest of the dinner at this point.
The only compliment that I can give this restaurant is that it is a beautiful space. Large open and well light central dining room with surrounding tables around the perimeter of it all. The space though did not excite me for the next dish. This was the bison with truffled winter root vegetables and bone marrow marmalade. What I can say here was that the protein was tender and the temperature was passable. The vegetables were grounded and tasted like the earth which means I did not at all taste the truffle at all. It had so much potential with the addition of bone marrow to the plate but alas, that too was bland and uneventful.
I did not appreciate the messy plating for this apple pomme dessert. It was almost as though they could not be bothered to clean the splatter on the plate vs the careful placement that you see at other awarded restaurants. If that was the intended placement then I think that idea might have to be revisited. This was golden apple with honey confit and cider mousse. It is weeks later and all I can remember tasting is cider in its most potent form. This was definitely not an appetizing taste in my mouth.
Assortment of desserts and chocolates that was so incredibly unremarkable that I did not even take any notes on it. I vaguely remember that there was a white chocolate with finger limes that was decent… but that is about it.
I have no idea what the chocolate mini cake was but just as with many of the other dishes I did not finish it. They did offer freshly baked madeleines which were a nice touch. With this dish, I came to the end of the meal… thankfully.
Summary. Overall. Not impressed