A long train ride from upstate NY (Hyde Park) to uptown (upper east Side) in Hostel Chocolat we live for another weekend. My love and I checked in to a small room with an unexpected roommate from Japan. After changing we ventured out for an 8 mile walk through Central Park straight for our favorite pizza (Bravo Pizza), deep dish love. Today is a very special day for me especially because I get to cash in on my wife's birthday gift to our first three star Michelin rated restaurant experience. My first choice is Daniel, second Jean~Georges and I got both, Daniel for dinner & JG for lunch. Six stars in one weekend.
Lunch at JG: Atmosphere was clean minus a couple details. Food was great showing skill & precision with flavors that punctuate with balance. Service was perfectly executed beyond expectation if you were blind. The five personnel who serviced us were polite, clean and noticed most details and had perfect timing but did it with a frown. They seemed to be almost demoralized by the upper management to the point where they did their best to express the least. Otherwise this lunch was my personal best ever.
What we ate:
Gulf Shrimp with Smoked Bacon, Papaya Mustard and Avocado
Sea Scallops, Caramelized Cauliflower, Caper-Raisin Emulsion
Skate with Château Chalon Sauce
Carmelized Sweetbreads, Candied Pumpkin, Liquorice and Sherry Emulsion
Beef Tenderloin and Crunchy Potatoes,Tomato Compote with Chilies and Garlic
JG's signature chocolate cake
Apple cider & pomegranate with Apple Ice Cream
Chef de Cuisine:Mark Lapico
Chef/Proprietor: Jean-Georges Vongerichten
For Dinner From Chocolat we crossed Central Park to Park Ave. and walked south a few blocks to Daniel. Chef Daniel Boulud is an all time favorite with lots of knowledge and passion for french influenced food. I have studied his passion and techniques for some years now and only now can I truly understand it. The restaurant has also graduated from a two star to a three which is now one of only six restaurants in the states to have been given this world wide recognition. We were ten minutes early and greeted with a coat check and a seat in a elegant lounge style waiting room. Within a minute we were provided gratis, champagne and hand made olive stuffed pretzels. An awe- inspired conversation with my wife for eight minutes and we were graciously seated at our table for the rest of the evening. With my wife the day has been perfect and the dinner has begun to remind us of other beautiful days in the big apple we have shared.
First the water guru, somalier, server then somalier again. By using eye contact the floor personnel worked together in stride. After friendly & witty conversation with the staff we soon had our orders in and a trio of amuse bouche on the table for each of us. The show begins and the food is amazing followed by the impeccable service. Some courses paired with wine and some not. The portioning was scaled perfectly just to give you enough to appreciate it and keep you satiated and wishing you had another bite. All courses were built with balance in mind using professional techniques with precision. It is truly amazing to see such respect for food and be able to appreciate it for the work that is put into it. But its not just about the food its about the combination of professionalism, service, food and the paying attention to details. Chef Daniel Buloud has been a chef icon for years careering two stars for a while and is definitely staying on top of the game.
What we ate:
Pressed Duck and Foie Gras Terrine
Chimay Gelée, Chestnuts, Red Cabbage Chutney
Mosaic of Capon, Foie Gras, and Celery Root
Pickled Diakon, Satur Farms Mâche, Pear Confit
R, Haart Riesling "Piesport Kabinett", Mosel 1999
Olive Oil Poached Cod "En Salade"
Artichoke Purée, Anise Hysop Dressing, Lemon Zest
Duo of Hamachi
Lettuce Wrapped Tartare with North Star Caviar
Vodka Beet Cured with Walnut Pistou, Mâche Salad
Grüner Veltliner, "Freiheit", Nigk, Kremstal 2008
Handmade Spinach Tortelloni
Chanterells, Thomme de la Chataigneraie,Lomo, Black Garlic
Whole Grain Crusted Skate
Chanterells, Swiss Chard, Kamut Berries, Capers
Duo of Dry Aged Black Angus Beef
Red Wine Braised Short Rib with Parsnip~Potato Gratin
Seared Rib Eye with Black Trumpets, Gorgonzola Cream
Foie Gras Stuffed Scottish Grouse
Celery, Caramelized Salsify, Beets, Walnut~Calvados Jus
Bosquet des papes "Couvée Grenache", Châteauneuf du Pape 2001
Duo of Fruit and Chocolate Desserts
A few more things that I would like to mention about Daniel. To prove my point about paying attention to detail our main server knew who we were and I'm sure he did some research as well. The details were watched and attended to- even a personalized menu of what we had to eat and drink was presented to us. The Duo of desserts were wonderful but the birthday dessert was a surprise as well as the silver platter of friandise, seven mini assorted house made chocolates, madelines and others. The service details can make or break you; when your server drops off a plate and tells you what it is you're about to experience you should commend them for caring. This is a major detail that cannot be overlooked. It lets the customer know that all involved with dinner are dedicated and have respect for all aspects & efforts of service. Daniel covers all details and more.