Gramercy Tavern – New York

I don’t like to write about the same restaurant twice, but Gramercy Tavern is an exception.  Gramercy Tavern is, in my opinion, the best restaurant in the United States.  Although my job requires visiting different restaurants, I always make a point of going back to Gramercy Tavern whenever I’m in Manhattan.  The food, the service, the ambiance, and even their Gramercy Tavern cookbook are amazing.  Perfect!!  

Lunch is the easiest time to get into Gramercy Tavern.  I usually reserve a month in advance.  You should get their cookbook and read all about the creation of Gramercy Tavern by its owner partner , Danny Meyer.  To quote from their website, ““The poster child of all that is good about American food today”, says Lucky Peach Magazine, [one of my favorite magazines on the planet featuring the likes of David Chang, Anthony Bourdain and lots of other chef celebrities.]

“One of America’s most beloved restaurants, Gramercy Tavern has welcomed guests to enjoy its contemporary American cuisine, warm hospitality, and unparalleled service for close to two decades. Chef Michael Anthony’s fiercely seasonal menu consists of elegant dishes with a rustic influence that showcase the restaurant’s relationships with local farms and purveyors.

“The restaurant can be enjoyed through two distinct dining experiences: the Tavern and the Dining Room. The Tavern serves an à la carte menu in a casual, walk-in setting and offers a daily four-course tasting menu at dinner. The Dining Room offers fixed-price and tasting menus with an à la carte option at lunch.

Opened in 1994 by legendary restaurateur Danny Meyer in a historic landmark building, the restaurant is designed by Bentel & Bentel with murals from artist Robert Kushner and vibrant floral arrangements from Roberta Bendavid.”

We chose the Seasonal Tasting Menu of five courses and ended up with TEN courses thanks to our waiter.  Our first off-the-prix-fixe menu was delicious, beautiful oysters with a unique mignonette.  One oyster was topped with diced, pickled ginger and chives.  The other was topped with caviar.  We chose a wonderful Puligny Montrachet, my favorite wine on the planet which turned out to be a great pairing with the meal. 

Next up, the feature photo shows you how amazingly beautiful the Braised Turnips, Radishes  and Pickled Mustard Seeds.  Come on!!!  Pickled Mustard Seeds???  That’s how amazingly attentive to detail Chef/Partner Michael Anthony and his staff are.  Such a subtle yet poignant addition in terms of art, texture and flavor.

I loved how the waiter poured the creamy broth over the Island Creek Oyster Chowder, Celery Root, Littleneck Clams and Trout Roe at our table.  What an awesome dish, so rich.  The oyster on top was breaded and fried.  The assembly allowed for crispy potato slices, and the popping of the trout roe throughout the course added bursts of flavor.

The Wild Mushrooms with a Parmesan Butter sauce were beautiful and chewy.  The parmesan looked like froth.  Such a rich dish.  I’m so glad that Gramercy Tavern serves relatively smaller portions in a prix fixe to allow the diner to enjoy every last molecule.

Halibut, Cauliflower, Capers and Anchovy Aioli followed.  The crispy-edged fish with subtle cauliflower and salty capers with the creamy aioli made for yet another tasteful, brilliant combination.

Perfectly cooked, aka al dente, Squid Ink Tagliatelle was served in a tomato confit with beautiful chunks of lobster.  Believe me, I couldn’t get the Nirvana grin off of my face.  All of this wonderful food with amazing service.

The Duck Breast and Bacon with Mushrooms, Leeks and Hazelnuts was a big hit.  Crispy skin and rare duck meat, salty bacon, crunchy hazelnuts and savory mushrooms and leeks.  We ordered a glass of Zinfandel to accompany this.  That’s my favorite wine with duck.  Such a rich, delicious meal.  It’s hard to imagine that we would still enjoy THREE desserts.  I just love Gramercy Tavern.

Pear Panna Cotta, Vanilla Tapioca Pudding and Sherry Granite was the dish on the prix fixe menu.   I love panna cotta, and the presentation of this dish, as you can see, was simply amazing.  I’m such a huge fan of sherry, so the granite was a welcome addition.

More pear.  Pear, Walnut Cake, Oat Crumble and Blue Cheese Mousse was a mind blower for my husband.  Blue Cheese Mousse???  It was such an excellent combination.  I know I’m going on and on about the combinations, but imagine how hard it is to get this right and create dishes so unusual people might shake their heads?  Frozen blue cheese??  Clam Chowder but it’s really oyster chowder?  This is why I love Gramercy Tavern so much.

Our final dish, and the feature photo was Chocolate Cake, Peanut Butter Mousse, Banana Cake and Concord Grape Sorbet.  Such a beauty this was.  Again, Gramercy Tavern delivered crunch, sweet, savory, creamy, salty. 

Thank you, Gramercy Tavern, for your excellent service, attention to detail, creative genius, and really great food.  If you’re ever in New York and you don’t make your way to Gramercy Tavern, you’re missing out on one of the best meals ever.

Gramercy Tavern Wrap-Up


Price: $$$$

10
Perfect

The Breakdown


Food
10
Creativity
10
Service
10
Ambiance
10




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