Gabriel Kreuther, NYC
September 22, 2015
Gabriel Kreuther, originally from Alsace, received high ratings and stars as chef at The Modern, Danny Meyer’s restaurant in the Museum of Modern Art. We found his cuisine there to be too fussy and over-garnished. He left The Modern at the end of 2013 and in June 2015 opened his own restaurant, Gabriel Kreuther, in the Grace Building opposite Bryant Park on 42nd Street. Linda and I went for dinner on August 17, 2015.
We were seated on a banquette in a corner of the spacious dining room, which opens onto the lobby, lounge and bar.
The restaurant was almost empty when we arrived at 6:30. This is unusual in New York where early seatings usually fill up. The location is convenient to after-work diners from the many businesses nearby and to the Theater District and Times Square two blocks west. But this was a Monday, when many theaters are dark, in mid-August. The room was about two-thirds full when we left around 9:00.
We ordered glasses of Charles Heidsieck • Champagne Brut NV. A good start.
A savory kugelhopf and fromage blanc with chives was put on the table. This Alsatian specialty is usually sweet, but was breadlike here.
We ordered the standard Four Course Prix Fixe, which has a wide selection for each course. There is also a ten-course tasting menu. We ordered the last bottle of 2006 Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur Volnay 1er Cru “Pitures Dessus” Vincent Bitouzet.
It was excellent.
Linda’s first course was
flying fish roe • salty fingers • cauliflower-macadamia purée
The langoustines were obviously good, but were overwhelmed by some cayenne pepper and sherry vinegar. But this was the only disappointing dish in the entire evening.
I started with
black truffle • foie gras terrine • celery
This terrine slice was superb. It started with three luxury ingredients. They were combined with imagination and expertise. Bravo.
Linda went on to
Sweetbread-Black Truffle Dumplings
summer corn purée • red currants
The dumplings were full of good truffle. They went well with the corn purée and currants. The succulent sweetbread was separate, as seen in photo. Excellent.
My next course was
Sturgeon & Sauerkraut Tart
American caviar mousseline • applewood smoke.
I had this dish, which has some Alsatian roots, at our meal at The Modern three years before. In my blogpost then, with an almost identical photo, I complained about the dominance of the sauerkraut. It was certainly evident this time, but had been toned down. The dish is presented under a glass bell filled with applewood smoke. When lifted, the diners at nearby tables can appreciate the aroma that has also permeated the sauce mousseline, hollandaise with whipped cream. The sturgeon is underneath and benefits from the added fishiness of the caviar on top.
We both continued with
Squab & Foie Gras Croustillant (for two)
seasonal vegetables • bay leaf jus
A thick slice of foie gras was sandwiched between two pieces of squab breast. They were wrapped in a blanched savoy cabbage leaf and then in brick pastry before deep frying. The varied seasonal vegetables were finished in a bay leaf glaze. Alongside was a sautéed squab thigh. This dish was served at The Modern, but goes back even earlier to Kreuther’s time about 2002 as chef at Atelier in the Ritz Carlton, where luxury and lusciousness were prized. We thought that this was superb.
Linda’s dessert was
Classic • Vanilla Caramel Mixed Berries
puff pastry • vanilla crème madame • lime linzer
This artistic wonder of pastry wafers separated by vanilla cream was excellent. And not too sweet. Bravo.
My dessert was
Fantasy • Chocolate Kirsch Amarena
Guanaja chantilly • olive oil chocolate sponge cake • kirsch sorbet
After the truffles, caviar, foie gras etc, this rich dessert, sort of a deconstructed, fantasy Black Forest torte, with different uses of chocolate and cherries, fit right in and I enjoyed it slowly.
With it I had a glass of
Albert Mann • Pinot Gris • Vendages Tardives Altenbourg • Alsace 2011
We enjoyed the meal a great deal and will return. The cuisine was imaginative and interesting while still sticking to traditions, many of them Alsatian. There is still a tendency toward elaboration and assertive saucing, but it has been substantially toned down from what we did not appreciate at The Modern and works well here,
Tables are very well spaced and couples are seated beside each other, not across tables as is done in most NYC restaurants to work more tables into available space. The service was always efficient; the pace was rapid, which suited us that evening; the noise level is low for New York. The music is in the lounge and wafts into the dining room gently.
To see our blogpost on our meal at The Modern in 2012 click here.