Monday, June 6, 2011

Gramercy Tavern, NYC (An American Classic)

I didn't realize that Gramercy Tavern was such a New York establishment. When you walk into the upscale restaurant or peruse the contemporary cuisine, you wouldn't realize that the Michelin One Star restaurant has been around for 17 years. You may not even recall that Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio was a previous co-owner and executive chef.

The restaurant is split into a bar area and a more formal dining room.

A prix fixe menu is offered in the dining room, three courses for $88. They also offer a six course tasting menu, including a vegetarian option.

Fresh bread with choice of plum ciabatta and sourdough.

Next, an amuse bouche of potato souffle with goat cheese and Parmesan. The souffle was airy and similar to a gougere with a pungent goat cheese essence.

Beef tartare with sorrel and farm egg
The delicate and fresh beef was nicely seasoned. After combining the poached yolk with the finely chopped meat, you get a lovely mixture that's rich and almost buttery. I liked that you could really taste the freshness of the meat, and that the tartare wasn't overpowered by capers and seasoning.

Duck fettucine with parsnips and brussel sprouts.
This was one of my favorite dishes of the night. The pulled duck confit was tender with pieces of fat attached. The sauce was slightly creamy, perhaps from the fat of the confit and the pasta combined. There was also a nice balance of sweetness and tang in the sauce. The leafy sprouts and parnips added crunch to the dish. Overall, a very hearty and comforting dish.

Rack and shoulder of lamb with hen of the woods mushrooms, sunchokes, hazelnut and collard greens
This dish is apparently a crowd favorite. The duo of lamb was perfectly cooked and not gamy. I really enjoyed the pairing of the chunks of sunchokes and earthy mushrooms. The lamb jus really combined with and flavored all the components on the plate.

Pork loin & belly with Heirloom beans and red rice
The pork loin was amazing, perhaps one of the juiciest piece of pork I've had. It was served with a smaller portion of pork belly that was was tender and fatty. I thought the red rice and beans were an interesting choice of sides which gave this dish a very Southern touch. The rice and beans were spicy and flavorful in a sauce that was infused with coriander and thyme. The dish was topped with emulsified pork skin which was a nice touch.

The last course is a dessert of your choice.

But first, a palate cleanser was brought over. Mandarin jelly, marscapone sauce and a meringue which was light and citrusy. It reminded me of a creamsicle. The sharp flavors really did a good job of cleansing the palate.

Sticky coffee fig cake and coffee ice cream
My favorite dessert of the night. The sticky coffee cake was gooey and sticky, with an intense caramel flavor. It was definitely very sweet and rich so a couple bites was more than enough.

Warm chocolate bread pudding with cacao nib ice cream
The chocolate pudding would be a chocolate-lover's dream. It was not super heavy or dense, and was moist in the center.

As if the meal wasn't filling enough, petit fours were presented with the check. Mint chocolate ganache, black sesame meringue and chocolate ganache tart.

I love when restaurants pack some fresh baked goods for breakfast the next day. We were given a homemade muffin which came in handy after the bars had closed.

The 3 course menu was more than sufficient food. Add on the amuse bouche, palate cleanser and petit fours and that's essentially six courses. I definitely walked away full and very satisfied. The food was spot on, flavorful and well executed. A truly lovely meal. After all these years, it seems that Gramercy Tavern hasn't missed a beat.

Hits: all the dishes, portions
Misses: get crowded, so make a reservation
Rating: ***1/2

Gramercy Tavern
42 E 20th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 477-0777


Gastronomer said...

I ate here YEARS ago with my bro and can't remember a thing about our meal. Thank God for food blogging. These days, I can recall every sing meal ;-)

Glad to hear that you had a very pleasant experience.

weezermonkey said...

Classic, indeed! So glad to hear it's great!