Back in the spring I had an amazing dinner when I first dined at the Michelin-starred Gabriel Kreuther in NYC and knew I would be back soon. This past Saturday night I was able to take a handful of clients for an amazing dinner that lasted over 5 hours and truly will remain in the top dining memories of my life.
I arrived before the other 5 guests and ordered one of the "historical" cocktails from the ingeniously created "Bryant Park Cocktail Menu" designed to recreate drinks that might have passed through the famous park across the street. The Public Promenade is made with Grey Goose Vodka, Cranberry, Allspice Dram, Lemon & Sumac and has an egg white froth dusted with autumn spices such as nutmeg and sumac on top. It's an earthy drink that, while served cold, gets even more warmer as you quaff. Everyone seemed to want one as they arrived! As we pondered the menu we enjoyed a bottle of Saint-Chamant Brut 2005 Blanc de Blancs Champagne from Epernay that was superbly yeasty and tasty. It took a while for us to settle on the Chef's Menu for all of us and then pass off our allergies and dislikes to our excellent server, Ronald, who noted every need and was there for everything we needed. We dine in many excellent restaurants around the work, many with Michelin stars as well, and the service here is some of the best I have ever experienced, especially in New York when the folks can be a bit abrupt; here it is relaxing, attentive and always top notch.
The Savory Scallion Kougelhopf arrived with its rich Chive Fromage Blanc and I warned everyone to pace themselves and not gobble up all the amazing bread, but this is an exception.
Two plates of Tarte Flambee started us off; one classic with bacon & onion and the other with hen of the woods mushrooms and formage blanc. These too were filling and irresistible, but luckily there was just one small square for each of us from each tarte.
Next was Siberian Osetra Caviar with Quail Egg, Buttermilk Panna Cotta and a Vadouvan Savory Cracker all in an adorable miniature eggshell dish. This was a superb dish and reminded me so much of our late friend Jean-Louis Palladin and his treatments of quail eggs, caviars and mousses for his amuses! Paired with the champagne it was brilliant.
The next plates (photos on FB) arrived with three each amuses and a shot glass on the side:
The glass contained a Red Curry Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Mousseline and Five Spice Crumble on top which you drank as a shot. It had a nice spicy kick, but that was immediately cantilevered by the Pomegranate Negroni Gelee with Orange Confit. Sesame Marinated Spaghetti Squash came on a Chestnut Cracker with Pickles Asian Pear, and while we all tried desperately to guess what these were, few of us succeeded. The last amuse on the plate was a divine Porcini Mac & Cheese with Tomato Powder.
A number of the courses came out with two different plates for the six of, forcing some cross table tasting!
the first pair was Hamachi, Black Truffle & Foie Gras Mille-Feuille with Celery, Grapes & Truffle Vinaigrette which I had back in April and adored. Opposite was the Langoustine Tartare with Flying Fish Rose, Salty Fingers, Cauliflower-Macadamia Puree that had a sweet tuile but chili for spice! The lobster melted in my mouth and paired perfectly with our first white wine "Ohne" Riesling from Ulrich Stein 2014 in the German Mosel Valley that was amazing especially with the minerality in the post-swirl in the mouth. Our sommeilleuse, Kelly, had every wine ordered and poured in time for the food and each of them indeed paired to perfection!
Our third bottle was a magnum (we were drinking fast and this was the last bottlel in the restaurant's cellar!) of Coffinet-Duvernay 2010 Chassagne-Montrachet "Blanchots Dessous" that was also brilliantly paired with the next several courses.
Sturgeon & Sauerkraut Tart with American Caviar Mousseline and Applewood Smoke is presented by the kitchen under a glass dome revealed tableside and wafted up through our nostrils. Chef de Cuisine Joe Anthony was praised by all for everything we had eaten so far, and I commended him on the superb job even though Chef Gabriel was off in Spain for a conference; I would never have known he was gone!
French baguettes arrived (they were really batards) with Valley Milkhouse Farm's Cultured butter, which was funny as the guests were all in the opera business or singers and as such were quite cultured! many laughs ensued especially when I insisted the bread was a batard and not a baguette. (They were later listed on the menu as wholegrain ficelles!)
Anson Mills' Spelt Risotto is a vegetarian's delight with Confit Yolk, Chanterelles, Pumpkin Seed Crumble and Parmesan. This is a heavy grain so not a typical Italian risotto and so novel it really should be called something else; yet so delicious, we did not leave one grain in our bowls.
Grilled Maine Lobster with Toasted Cashews, Baby Carrots, & Jamon Nage was almost like a bisque with a Leek Saffron Puree as well had this shellfish in its sheer perfection and again brilliantly paired with the Chassagne-Montrachet, a Burgundy Chardonnay of true class. One of us did not like shellfish and got the Roasted Black Bass with Olive Oil Breadcrumbs, Garlic Confit & Shellfish Broth instead.
Rosemary Buckwheat Rolls arrived with Whipped Lardo/Chili/Garlic Spread...who could resist that?? I always want to package this spread and take it home....Alas, not as carry-on!
Meat was coming and Kelly suggested a wondrously aged 2010 Cornas from Domaine du Coulet "Billes Noires" that we all raved over with the Berkshire Pork Tenderloin with Berawecka Brown Butter, Sage & Castle Valley Mill's Polenta. I was told berawecka is akin to fruitcake, but not the kind you buy in a package as this butter was divine with the tender pork loin.
Our second red wine was one I had here earlier in the year and adored and is truly a superb red, Mas La Mola 2009 from Priorat was a huge red ideal with our last meat course: 7X Wagyu Beef Tenderloin from Colorado with Roast Salsify, Potato Dumpling & Juniper Jus. The meat was like butter and the dumpling (also made with veal breast) was truly spectacular and loaded with flavor. As if this were not enough, the palte was dotted with pieces of beef tongue as well as beech mushrooms! We were all nearing our limits, but there was more.
Pumpkin Cremuex was a Cider Sorbet with Red Currant Marmalade and Ginger SnapTuile was called a palate cleanser of sort, but was really a pre-dessert that we could not stop raving about. So perfect (as was every dish) for a bitter cold 20 degree winter night.
Desserts were Decadent - Chocolate Caramel with Mixed MediaCrumble, Chocolate Mousse and Caramel Ice Creamfor three of us and the other received the amazing Harvest - Fig Crumble with Sauteed Fig, Pear Sorbet, Caramel Cremeux and Crystallized and Caramelized Pastry, Pear Gelee. They were both superb, but I have to say I preferred the fruit as I am a fruit dessert guy, but we all shared equally.
Not enough--there were Cheesecake Macaroons and Milk Chocolates with Saffron & Honey served in a Cacao Pod to finish and Chocolate packages to take home.
To quote the song: "Oh What a Night!" Kudos go to the entire amazing staff and team in the kitchen and front of house from everyone who greets, meets and even helps you find the loo, to all the chefs in the amazing kitchen where some of the best food in NY is always found!