Gramercy Tavern, NYC 2
November 21, 2006
On November 20, 2006, four of us went to The Gramercy Tavern for dinner. (See July 29, 2006, for the previous posting on this, our favorite NYC restaurant.) At our request we were given the table in the Star Room in the very back left, far corner, which was quite quiet. As this was Monday of Thanksgiving Week, there were none of the usual tables of six or eight business people shouting at each other in order to be heard. Our other couple was Dutch and so we stuck to American wines. We had a bottle of 2005 Penner Ash (Oregon) Viognier as apéritif and with the first course; it is quite substantial for a white wine. Then a 2002 Yamhill Valley (also Oregon) “Reserve” Pinot Noir, which is delicious. There was a very small amuse-gueule of scallops shard with pumpkin chutney.
Kees and I started with the sea urchin ragout: chunks of sea urchin, lobster and crab surrounded by a foamy sea urchin sauce on top of finely puréed potatoes. It was delicious, particularly if one is a sea urchin fancier, as we are.
Els had the lobster salad, which was a very generous serving of lobster pieces and greens. It was good quality but the least of our starters, despite its $10 supplement.
Linda and I moved on to the Rabbit with Roasted Shallots, Garlic Sausage, Olives, Rosemary and and a little casserole of very buttery puréed potatoes on the side. All parts of the rabbit were used, including the liver and kidney. It was meatier and more flavorful than the rabbit we are used to in France and there were cuts we had never seen before, such as little chops. The meat stock reduction sauce was just right.
Els had the Roasted Sirloin of Beef with Cranberry Beans, Salsify, Wild Mushrooms and Bacon.
Kees had the Braised Shoulder of Lamb with Tomato Tart and Autumn Wax Beans, which was quite rich and delicious.
There was a little “amuse-dessert” of Concord grape-ginger consommé. Then I had the coconut tapioca with passion fruit and coconut sorbets, passion fruit caramel and cilantro syrup. Very pretty, very tropical and very good. Linda had the caramelized pear cake, which was excellent, with almond ice cream, pear sorbet and a clove caramel. Kees chose the goat milk cheesecake with Concord grape sorbet and walnut brittle.
Els had a selection of three cheeses, all American, with a fig cake and other accoutrements. She was very happy with it.
Kees and I each had a glass of Paumanok Long Island North Shore Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, which went very well and Els had a glass of Gary’s Vineyard Pinot Noir with her cheeses.
Overall the meal was excellent, but I somewhat missed the sense of a special occasion that comes with having the multi-course tasting menu. But the Autumn Tasting Menu did not look as interesting this time. It might have surprised us. The kitchen is in an interim between two head chefs, which may have made a difference. We were taken care of by one jolly and helpful waiter and a younger assistant who kept us feeling that we were in good hands. The bill, including tax and tip, came to $150@, which is reasonable for such an experience.