Friday, November 10, 2006

bravo for BOULEY - a truly French treat hidden in NYC

Tonight I visited one of NY City's gastronomic temples and BOULEY ( RESTAURANT in the depths of Soho (where is seems so many top NY restaurants are located) deserves all the praise it gets. TO begin with upon entering one is greeted by the aroma of apples all arranged in the entryway, this followed by candled and many more scents, all appealing to the tummy and getting me very ready to eat. Should you decide to dine at Bouley and wish to be more European and less NY, ask for the room to the right with its low white arced ceilings, sparsely distanced tables and a real taste of French elegance. Our corner table had many pillows and throws on the banquette and was so secluded we felt as if nobody else was there; the service however, was pretty much spotless, so they knew we were there! if you CRAVE New York City, action and a bit of noise, go to the right for the red arched larger room, but you wont catch me there.

I must first state that my flight to NY was late and upon landing I called Bouley to advise we might be about 30 minutes late. My fears that they would say "don't bother coming" were unfound when the courteous maitre d' Kate said "no problem" We arrived at 630pm (exactly 30 mins late) and were ushered to what I consider one of the best tables in the house; our dinner was never rushed! Also, they allowed two of us to order ala carte while I chose the tasting menu. This can often be a problem at many fine dining establishments, but they handled it to perfection (glutton that I am!).

At first we were served two types of bread, but as soon as we gobbled down the precious pain, a tray was proffered with 8 or more breads sliced to order: Black Olive, Pistachio Garlic, Fig & more. Wouldn't you know that the chef's amuse or canape was a GRAPEFRUIT CAPPUCINO with segments of grapefruit and my cholesterol drug specifically denies me this fruit. A replacement of SWEET CORN & BLACK TRUFFLE in a light Pastry PIROUETTE appeared before I could even be upset.

My guests chose a delicious CHATEAU DURFORT-VIVERS 2000 Margaux from Bordeax that needed air, while opted for the paired wines which began with a TEMENT SAUVIGNON BLANC 2005 from Styria in Austria which is another new and fabulous find in the white wine department. It paired brilliantly with my PHYLLO CRUSTED FLORIDA SHRIMP, CAPE COD BABY SQUID, SCUBA DIVED SEA SCALLOP, SWEET MARYLAND CRABMEAT in Ocean Herbal Broth (almost light pesto like). It was very French in its conception, but very American in its ingredients.

Both my guests opted for the novel ORGANIC CONNECTICUT FARM EGG Steamed with BLACK TRUFFLE, Serrano Ham, Parmesan Reggiano & 25 Year Old Balsamic Vinegar.

I moved on to a terrine-like "RETURN from CHIANG MAI" -Chilled MAINE LOBSTER, MANGO, Fresh ARTICHOKE & Serrano Ham, Passion Fruit, Fresh Coconut & Tamarind Dressing that was like an exotic ketchup. It was a wild combination, but a truly delicious flavor all mixed together or tasted separately. The 2004 ALBERT MANN GEWURTZTRAMINER was a bit sweet at first, but turned more peppery as time passed.

Entrees were all a hit from the ORGANIC CONNECTICUT FARM RAISED PIG with Cippolini Onion & Green Tomato Chutney which had the crunchiest pigskin crust one could ever wish for and the perfectly cooked ORGANIC PENNSYLVANIA RACK of LAMB with Roasted Baby Eggplant, baby Leeks and puree of Langres Cheese (that was apparently mistaken for mashed potatoes). My ORGANIC BREAST of LONG ISLAND DUCK with Orange Glaxed Belgian Endive, Quince Puree & Duck Jus was cooked just past rare and every bite was heaven. The mashed fingerling potatoes that accompanied each dish were a bit too creamy for me, but my guest insisted she LOVED THEM CREAMY! My JEAN LUC COLOMBO 2003 CROZES HERMITAGES "Les Fees Brunes" was the only disappointment all night. A nice Rhone blend, but very bland, and not worthy of the duck at all.

We all enjoyed the first dessert of CHILLED CONCORD GRAPE SOUP with APPLE CIDER & GINGER GELEE with Fromage Blanc Sorbet (Sam would have loved this one) and mine came with a not too sweet KAMOIZUMI Konekome-Shu Sake.

We all tasted some of Linda's cheeses except for the strong Gorgonzola. The Valence goat was boring, the Epoisse not at the level we had four night's earlier in DC, but the CHAOURCE was superb, the FLIXIR, a Swiss sheep very nutty and the LIVAROT superb.

My dessert was a CARAMEL CHIBOUST with Italian Plums, Crunchy Almond Dacquoise, Rum Toffee and Prune-Armagnac Ice Cream was superb, despite its overdose sound. The simple chiboust was a souffle like fruit pastry and truly a treat as I don't recall ever having one before. A Banyuls Ame de Pierre from Cazalet was a perfect foil to the prune and plum and fruit, and some little mignardises came as relaxed and enjoyed each other's company.

On our departure, Linda was given a tea cake to take home (only the women get this!), which she later gave to me to give my Mom!