July 29, 2010
“An oenophile’s dream” is how the Michelin Guide describes Veritas, awarding it one star. The restaurant’s name comes from Pliny the Elder’s phrase: In vino veritas, In wine there is truth. Linda and I dined at Veritas for the first time the evening of July 22, 2010.
Veritas is hardly noticeable from 20th Street with its narrow front and a gray “V” flag across the street from the big window looking into the Gramercy Tavern’s bar scene. We were warmly welcomed and seated at a quiet table in back along the wall.
The wine book was brought and we ordered from the front “wines by the glass” page. Linda had a 2007 Château de Cary Potet Montagny ‘Les Burnins’ 1er Cru, described on the list :
“This Chardonnay is from the southernmost point of the Côte Chalonnaise in Burgundy. It’s medium to full in body with impressive ripeness and vibrant acidity.”
I had a 2008 Huet Clos Du Bourg ‘Sec’ Vouvray:
“From this world class Domaine comes a lovely Chenin Blanc grown in limestone soil. It exhibits aromas of spring flowers, pears and honeyed fruits combined with minerally acidity.”
The poured portions were generous. We liked both wines; Linda’s was fuller and more approachable. Mine was a bit chalky and severe, but really came into its own with the amuse bouche.
We chose the three course prix-fixe Seasonal Dinner Menu with ample choices for each course at $85. There is also a $110 five-course tasting menu, a nine-course menu at $155 and an à la carte Bar Menu.
We looked again at the wine book. The enormous Reserve List is impressive, but offers bottles which are justifiably very expensive. We ordered from the comparatively small Market List a 2007 Breggo Cellars, Anderson Valley, California, Pinot Noir priced at $80. The list said:
In Northern Sonoma, the cool climate of Anderson Valley provides a perfect scenario for Pinot Noir to yield wines of elegance.
We thought it was a very good classic pinot noir.
The amuse bouche arrived:
Peekytoe crab in cucumber; smoked corn chowder with bacon foam and a crisp; yellow tomato sorbet with balsamic vinegar.
They were all interesting and very good.
Linda’s first course was
lobster in vin jaune, yellow squash, green zucchini
This is a signature dish at Veritas and is always on the menu. Linda thought that it was excellent.
My starter was
Crispy Frog Legs
corn succotash, chanterelle mushroom, parsley coulis, garlic puree, beet butter
These were eaten lollipop style. The meaty frog legs were surrounded by shredded filo before deep frying. They rested on a bed of sweet corn which had a freshness that contrasted nicely with the rich decadence of the legs. Very good: tasty, fun and creative.
Linda’s main course was
potato mille-feuilles, shallot purée, sucrine salad, pickled chanterelles, beef jus
Linda said: The bone marrow, lower left, was delicious. The wagyu beef was appropriately tender and flavorful. The salad added crunch. There was sauce Béarnaise inside the novel, hot croquette.
My main was
Israeli cous cous, piquillo pepper, eggplant, lamb jus
The flavorful lamb included a chop, two loin slices, braised shoulder wrapped in zucchini ribbons and a deep-fried sweetbread. The variety of meat tastes was interesting. The garnishes are traditional with lamb, but were imaginatively done. There was green tapanade in the piquillo pepper half. The cherry tomato had an interesting stuffing. The Isreali cous cous in a little bowl on the side had just the right amount of sauce to make it lively. Excellent.
Linda’s dessert was
Peach and Blueberry Succés
Passionfruit curd, lemon verbena ice cream
She thought it was a perfect dessert, not too sweet.
My dessert was
dulce de leche, coconut lime pastry cream, marinated pineapple
This was a little sweeter than I would have preferred, but I enjoyed it.
The service and pace were fine. The music was adult; the noise level increased as the evening progressed, but we could always hear each other. The ambience was very civilized. We enjoyed our meal a lot; our cuisine had been two-Michelin-star level at one-star prices. Veritas was the NYC discovery of the year, so far, for us. Bravo; we will be back.