Gramercy Tavern, NYC 6
May 5, 2015
One of my first posts on this blog, in 2006, opened:
“ The Gramercy Tavern has long been our favorite restaurant in New York. We have been going several times a year for many years, both at lunch, which is quieter, and in the evening. We like the combination of French cooking techniques, American ingredients and efficient service without too much fuss. Last year we had a party for 22 in the private dining room for my 65th birthday. “
Our preferences evolved and our last blogpost on Gramercy Tavern dates from 2009. In the meantime Linda had some lunches there, but our first serious meal together was when we returned for dinner on March 30, 2015.
Our table was in a relatively quiet back corner. We started with glasses of Larmandier-Bernier Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs, Latitude, NV, Champagne.
One has a choice between a three-course dinner menu, a six course “seasonal” menu, our selection, or a six-course vegetable menu.
The first course was
Kohlrabi, Radish and Lime
The scallops and sliced vegetables were good, but I only used about 5% of the sauce as the plentiful lime juice dotted with chili oil and basil seeds would have overpowered the scallops and wrecked my palate for the wine and further courses.
Kabocha Squash, Braised Kombu and Trumpet Mushrooms
This was good, but there was not much lobster.
Heirloom Beans, Scallions and Kohlrabi
Hake is a surprising choice for a menu at this level. Similar to cod, it is not as interesting as halibut, striped bass or yellowtail, for example, would be. The preparation was competent, but uninspired.
Pistachio, Parsnips and Bacon
When I saw the title of this dish on the tasting menu, I was looking forward to crispy noodles with crunchy garnishes. But it was all dressed in a gooey sauce which dominated the texture. The flavors were nice.
Duck Breast and Bacon
Mushrooms, Brussels Sprouts and Hazelnuts
This course was very good. The flavorful duck was perfectly cooked with crispy skin. The Maïtake mushrooms were a treat. (Underneath and in back in the photo were the hazelnuts and Brussels sprout leaves.)
Well, obviously I was quite disappointed by much of the cuisine, which lacked sparkle and finesse. The service was very good and the pace was fine. Gramercy Tavern is too entrenched an institution in the New York dining scene to need to change much. In fact, evidence of change, such as the saucing on the scallops, doesn’t work for me. I would prefer that they go backwards to what we used to love.
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