The Bouley Test Kitchen, NYC

August 4, 2015

The multifunctional Bouley Test Kitchen serves as an event space, an interactive classroom and a state-of-the-art culinary laboratory for all of David Bouley’s restaurants. It is a testing and learning center for visiting guest chefs.  The location in the entire top floor of an 1880’s five-story industrial building is unexpected. Thirty-five of us celebrated there on July 27, 2015, my 75th  birthday.

Linda and I had tried out dishes during meals at Bouley Restaurant in the preceding months. Working with the Test Kitchen’s genial and efficient event coordinator, Jenna Nocciolino, we planned our evening.

Linda and I arrived early to see that all was in order, which it certainly was. Here are some photos of the Test Kitchen taken before guests began to arrive.

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The apéritif wine was served in the front area. Guests had a choice of the three wines of the event, which continued throughout the meal:
Paul Goerg Brut Reserve Champagne
Viognier, Le Pied de Samson, Georges Vernay 2014
Gevrey-Chambertin Tortochot 2013

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The sommelier is Arthur Briand, originally from Caen.

Guests could watch from up close the chefs preparing hors d’œuvres, which were then passed.
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This is a Kudzu Crisp with Black Truffle Pâté & Aligoté.

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Scallops on a basil sauce.
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Other hors d’œuvres were:
Grilled Marinated Duck with Pruneaux d’Agen
Sautéed Foie Gras with Rosemary-Apple Purée
Lobster with Passion Fruit and Black Truffle Sauce
Homemade Blinis with Smoked Salmon, White Truffle Honey, Salmon Roe

Earlier the chefs had worked for hours getting ready for the meal. Here they are preparing the eggplant nuggets for the lamb course.
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We were delighted that chef David Bouley arrived to join us.
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Steve Plotnicki always has some words of wisdom for chefs.

Isaac Wynn played David Bouley’s Steinway during the apéritif session. He broke up the animated conversations with “Happy Birthday,” to move us to the four tables on the other side of the kitchen. Linda welcomed our guests while the chefs put finishing touches on the meal in the center of the room.
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Chef Bouley spoke to us about issues of ecology and nutrition relating to cuisine. He talked about the evolution of his cooking and his philosophy about it over his 43 years “in the kitchen.”
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An extra starter course, offered by Bouley, was tomato coulis with a radish slice and Fontina cheese on the bottom and Australian truffle shavings on top.
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This set up our palates. 

The first course was
Organic Connecticut Quail Egg
Crémeux des Cîteaux, 24 Month Comté
Australian Summer Truffle

This was luscious and luxurious.

Next came
Porcini Flan
Alaskan Dungeness Crab, Golden Princess Crab
Black Truffle Dashi

This dish, which reminds me of a large Japanese chawan-mushi, is a house specialty. Crabs in season are used. The balance and melding of the flavors is perfect.

The main course was
Organic Colorado Rack of Lamb
Biodynamic California Eggplant
Zucchini-Mint Purée, Rose Olives
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The flavor of the top quality lamb was allowed to shine through.  The purée and the eggplant are classic matches with lamb, but I would have enjoyed more eggplant than the two little nuggets.

The pre-dessert was
Black Raspberry Sorbet
Toasted Buckwheat Gelato

Very good.

Dessert was
Hot Caramelized Anjou Pear
Valrhona Chocolate, Biscuit Breton, Hot Toffee Sauce
Huckleberry with Crème Fraîche Ice Cream

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Like the rest of the meal, the warm, caramelized pear, was luxurious and delicious.

A plate of lovely mignardises finished things off.
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The team at The Bouley Test Kitchen worked hard to make this birthday party a spectacular evening. Many thanks to them, and thanks to Chef Bouley for being part of our evening. The planning and preparation by Linda and Jenna were also critical. Our guests had a very good time; so did we.


7 Responses to “The Bouley Test Kitchen, NYC”

  1. Ronald Shelp Says:

    A reminder of a wonderful evening to celebrate your 75th, Michael. We will never forget it.

  2. Jerry Vance Says:

    Once again a fabulous way to celebrate a wonderful man

  3. Tony Russo Says:

    Thanks to you and Linda for allowing us to share this special evening.

  4. Heather Norman-Soderlind Says:

    Congratulations on your birthday, Michael. What an extraordinary pleasure this meal must have been for your guests. You and Linda look wonderful in the pictures! We send our best wishes to you both! Heather & Rolf

  5. Suzy Faraut Says:

    Wish we could have been there!!

  6. Sounds like a delightful evening. Thanks for sharing it. Many happy returns of the day! Sally

  7. Hugh Scheffy Says:

    MIke: Happy Birthday! I’m 2 weeks and 3 days behind you. This was a wonderfully interesting post. The chef and you could be brothers! All best to you and Linda.

    Hugh Scheffy

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