Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Daniel's (Manhattan) 09

Filled with eager anticipation for a great meal on our last day in New York we arrived a couple of minutes early for our 9.00 pm reservation. Suitably attired in a brand new suit and tie, and everything else for that matter as my suitcase had not arrived in NY and I had to buy a complete new wardrobe, coats checked we were seated in the broad entrance hall and offered a bar wine list with the assurance that our table would be available in a few minutes. My wife enjoyed a cocktail ($14)

and the cheese and olive sticks were delicious but 20 minutes later we were still there. Meantime a number of people had arrived after us, some inadequately dressed were obliged to borrow jackets from the restaurant, and after a few minutes had been escorted to the dining room. Irritated, a further inquiry resulted in an explanation that the people at the table reserved for us had paid their bill but remained chatting at the table. They offered us a glass of wine and some canapes as consolation and we accepted the latter.

Finally 40 minutes after our arrival we were ushered into an absolutely fabulous colonnaded dining room. This room had once been the foyer of the now deceased Majestic Hotel and the entrance area

was the site of the restaurant ?Cirque.

Plush carpets large clothed tables the walls decorated with very large modernised portraits of famous renaissance paintings.

The two on the other side of the room from me being the only two we recognizes - the wife of the Duke of Sforza and Lucrezia Borgia. The menu is both a la carte limited degustation i.e. three courses from a limited selection or a six course degustation ($175 or $270 with selected wine) We had the best of both worlds with one meal with the wine and one without. Daniel Boulud is not shy to have his name about and several of the wines on his very extensive list carry it. I had a glass of Daniels Champagne, made by Souzeran, ($22) and a good sample of the other selected wines. Indeed I think to mollify us we were given two more glasses of excellent wine, one the Chateauneuf duPape and a dessert wine plus an extra dessert on the house! Before the meal began we were given a porchini mushroom soup topped with a little black truffle.

A rich smooth thick soup with a memorable strong but not overpowering mushroom flavour. Then came dinner. We must have had 10 of the twelve courses available. A tray with at least eight different reads was offered.

If I didn't take care there would be no room for food!

ALMOND CRUSTED FOIE GRAS TERRINE (not as smooth or as strong in taste as the Guinea Hen foie gras.) The prune Napoléon was perfect to modify the terrine, and Armagnac Gelée

PÂTÉ OF GUINEA HEN, PORCINI AND FOIE GRAS Pomegranate, Quince, Frisée Salad.

A delight to the eye and the palate. Served with Domaine Rolly Gassman "Oberer Weingarten de Rorschwihr" Gewurtztraminer 2004 an extremely appropriate choice, quite luscious.

YELLOWFIN TUNA TARTAR WITH CAVIAR Seared Bluefin Toro with Meyer Lemon, Yuzu, Wasabi

Again a lovely dish but the bluefin, which I've not tasted, before was a tiny piece and over cooked for my taste. It did not do anything for me. The wine however was another fine choice. Tement Sauvignon Blanc, Styria, Austria 2007 was surprisingly dry as it had a sweet bouquet but a complex taste the improved as it sat in the glass.
MAINE PEEKYTOE CRAB Fuji Apple, Celery Crème Fraîche, Hearts of Palm.

Who says crab meat has very little taste this was full of it sweet and delicate
KATAIFI CRUSTED SEA SCALLOPS Porcini, Salsify, Pumpkin Oil.

Again sweet and amazingly improved by the Kataifi, perfectly prepared I've never had better.The Chateauneuf du Pape, Chateau Mont-Redon, Rhone Valley 2007 specially appealed It had an extremely pleasing bouquet light and smooth on the palate with reasonable length and significantly enhanced the food.
BLACK SEA BASS WITH SYRAH SAUCE Leek Royale, “Pommes Lyonnaise

This Syrah (shiraz) sauce was not subtle enough for the lovely, delicate, moist superb fish Except that I liked it this David Duband Haute Cote de Nuits "Louise August" 2006. does not stand out in my mind
PAN ROASTED HALIBUT, Pine nut-grape chutney, celery, verjus.

Whilst the halibut was not as fine as the bass the chutney and verjus were a fantastic accompaniment. The Chateau Haut-Bages Averis, Pauillac, Bordeaux 2001 was a typical good quality Bordeaux
DUO OF DRY AGED BLACK ANGUS BEEF Red Wine Braised Short Rib with Sunchokes Seared Rib Eye with Hazelnut-Potato Croquette.

Just a little overpowered rather than balanced with the red wine sauce.
For dessert we had Cilantro poached pineapple with coconut with a lime-rum gelee and a pina colada sorbet.

The sorbet wonderful tho the remainder of the dish a little sour. It was beautifully offset by the Tokaji '5 Puttonyos", Royal Tokaji, Hungary. This is a magnificent wine with which to enjoy a slightly tart dessert.

The Tainori chocolate Dacquoise with rice crispy, lemon curd and dark chocolate ice cream was super sweet and rich.

As an extra we had a glass of Vin Santo Chianti Classico, Felsina Beradenga, Italy 2000. Not nearly as impressive as the tokay but I was not giving any of it back!To really stack on the calories we were then presented with a self saucing chocolate pudding as an extra and a plate of petit fours

Despite a few very minor criticisms in total I found this to be an exquisite meal. Better balanced than our New Years eve dinner at per se and definitely a meal to write home about.
Score 19/20


neil said...

I loved the look of the food and the wines mostly sounded pretty good too.

Anonymous said...

Hi Neil
This place is numero uno - really tops. The presentation of the food was outstanding. The wines were mostly quite inexpensive - about US$35/bottle retail but were, mostly, a very good match to the food and improved the meal.