The Simone, NYC 2

September 27, 2016

To celebrate Barbara’s birthday, Linda and I took her The Simone on August 23, 2016. We had enjoyed this restaurant in our neighborhood two years before.  

Linda and I started with glasses of Champagne Malard ‘1er Cru,’ Ay, while Barbara had a kir royale.
I had a second glass as I thought it would go better with my crab first course than the bottle of red Burgundy we ordered: 2004 Domaine Marquis d’Angerville Taillepieds Volnay.
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Very nice.

We looked at the menu for the starters and main courses, which is written in an elaborate script. Our affable hostess, Tina Vaughn, also told us the few specials of the day. The dessert menu is also eventually given orally.

Good, warm, fresh petits pains were served to us.
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Barbara started with a summer special of the evening: a gazpacho velouté with a scoop of cucumber sorbet.IMG_3012 (480x321)
She wrote: “The gazpacho had a  smooth creamy  texture with a refreshingly cool and enjoyable taste.  The tiny croutons and frosty sorbet added just the right amount of contrast to this delicious summer soup.”

Linda’s starter was
crispy seared, oyster mushrooms, spinach, shallots, garlic.
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The searing and the flavor of the two pieces of sweetbreads was very good. An excellent example of a good sweetbread starter. The garnishes, mostly spinach, were complementary and good.

Mine was
Trio of East Coast Blue Crab
***Savory Crab and Corn Flan
**Deviled Crabcake with remoulade
*Jumbo lump crab, mango, mint and lime.
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Tina told me to eat these in the order of the list, not as displayed, as that would progress from hot to warm to cold. These were excellent, particularly the flan. The variations on the fresh crab flavor were interesting.

Barbara’s main course was
crispy seared with Dijon and fresh breadcrumbs,
market pole beans, almond, fingerling potatoes
and a green tomato beurre blanc.
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She wrote: “My flounder added a nice crunchy comparison as a main dish, while the green market beans hidden below perked up the fish with their firm full flavor.  The cherry red tomatoes set off the entrée with a little added sweetness, as did the tomato beurre.”

Linda’s main was
Hudson Valley. Thigh slow roasted in stock and mustard.
Loin grilled and wrapped in bacon.
Sweet rutabaga and braising greens.
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Linda chose rabbit on a summer night since we had a good bottle of Volnay.  The rabbit was tender and good but the salt level in the bacon around the loin pieces and in the sauce overwhelmed the dish.

Mine was
Cascun Farms, breast roasted, summer sausage of thigh,
Swiss chard, golden raisin, sauté of sweet corn and chanterelles with bacon.
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There was a more than ample serving of the breast meat with the wing bone. The skin was crisp and added needed interest. The three pieces of sausage (peeking up in the back of the photo) were flavorful and good, also adding some spark. The mixed ingredient sauce brought needed moisture to the dry white meat, but it was oversalted.

Barbara’s birthday dessert was a chocolate butter cream with caramel dots and a mound of whipped cream.IMG_3023 (480x212)
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She wrote: “This petite chocolate cake filled with its vanilla butter cream layers topped off a perfect  meal.  You felt a rich and deep chocolate  flavor on your palate, while the whipped cream and caramel added an additional sweet flourish to end a perfect birthday celebration!”

Linda’s was a blueberry/almond tarte with real vanilla ice cream.IMG_3024 (480x178)
The blueberry and almond tart was delicious and the vanilla ice cream really vanilla. This dessert washed the oversalted rabbit dish from Linda’s mouth for the close of the meal. 

Mine was a fig bavarois.
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The thickened cream was on top of a disk of mashed figs. A lovely dish if you enjoy fresh figs, as I do.

We enjoyed our evening. The cuisine is well planned and executed. I enjoy its traditional aspect and am surprised that the elaborations on it seem to work. The ingredients are impeccably local, seasonal and fresh. The service is just right. The noise level from the chatter is surprisingly high for the Upper East Side clientèle.

Tina Vaughn is excellent at making her customers feel welcome and at home. She somehow finds the time to chat with them and watch over the progress of their meal. The Simone being full on this late August evening is testimony to her success and that of her chef/husband Chip, whom we have never met as he is very busy in the kitchen.

To see our meal at The Simone two years before click here.


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