Monday, May 01, 2006
For our first wedding anniversary we dined in exquisite style at Bouley in Manhattan's Tribeca neighborhood. We had passed by the establishment so many times before on our way to haunts such as the Square Diner, Eddie's, Petite Abeille (need I go on and name ALL of the Tribeca restaurants we have been in the past two + years.) Oh and our favorite - Landmarc. . . .
The building is white with large interestingly shaped windows and once the large wooden door is open customers enter a small foyer with racks of apples on the left accompanied by a strong, beautiful scent of apples. Go figure.
I felt like I entered another world - where people called me the lady and my husband, the gentleman. Standing in front of us was the host at the ready to take my coat (giving the coat check ticket to the gentleman) and showing us our seats though we were about 20 minutes early. (we did take the subway since after all "jacket required" which means a dress for me which = shoes with a higher heel than I normally would wear). We entered the red room and well, it was red. (Need I say go figure? I hope you are figuring without my prompt). Red ceilings and walls and decorated like a home. Not a 45 Wall Street home, nor a Cottage home (I can only guess) but one filled with decorative pillows, small and cute lamps, and pretty, fine china. (It was attractive - not pretty fine as in "Yo - it was pretty fine! Yeow!").
We ordered the 7 course tasting menu and a bottle of cab sauvignon from the Finger Lakes. The environment reminded me of a place in Ithaca, New York so it was an easy decision on the wine.
Our waiter brought us the chef's canape. A puree of cucumber, with tomato, buffala cheese and a splash of pesto paste stuff. I liked it. Jeremy politely ate some but not all.
Next on to our first round of appetizers. Tuna sashimi over shaved fennel for me and a phyllo shrimp, scallop, squid concoction (or should I say delicacy) for the gentleman. Kudos to the chef on this one. I don't usually like fennel but sometimes all it takes is amazing tuna sashimi and a wonderful setting. Yum.
Next round of appetizers came after some bread eating. The apple raisin roll was warm and preferred to the baguette, which still somehow made its way into my belly even given its second class status. Next I had the lobster, ham, and cheese roll! (not its name but essentially this is what I remember about it and let me tell you - it was amazing!) It was kind of like a sushi roll minus the rice and with cooked crustacean (instead of raw fish). The gentleman's dish was a sea bass with some sauces. (I did not taste it so cannot give any assessment). All I know is - I didn't try his and he didn't try mine so we were both happy with our selections!
For our main dish we both had the Maine Lobster. There was a passion fruit -tasting sauce and bok choy. Fingerling potatoes too.
The cleaning the palette dish was grapefruit inspired sorbet with Greek yogurt and grapefruit slices. Perfection.
Then dessert. We didn't like it.
I keed. I keed.
The waiter told us the creme brulee has been called the world's best and we didn't think twice before ordering a portion. We also had the chocolate souffle with peanut butter, chocolate and vanilla ice cream.
I was nervous to take the first bite. Would I totally lose faith in our waiter? (who by the way was a perfect waiter - left us alone but at the same time was sure to check on us casually and nonintrusively once per course. And not your boring mindless, "how is everything?" He passed by and whispered softly, is everything nice? It was more than nice but a perfect way to check in)
So the punch one two is that this creme brulee does get our vote for the world's best. A lightly bruleed top - not crunchy but still that enjoyable flavor. And the custard - oh! this is where the rest of the world is at a loss. Must be lots and lots (and lots) of fresh organic eggs from the chef's farm in CT. (source of my knowledge of his farm in CT: Internet). Even if the eggs were from the Greenmarket in Union Square - oh did they provide. One of my favorite parts of the meal was watching the gentleman take his first bite. He has the same reaction as me - instead of making a confused face like, "are you kidding?! am I really eating this?" (I have made this many times when sampling a great restaurants chocolate dishes), rather the thoughts, after savoring the world's best creme brulee is better described as, I am not going to overact or over-react but instead I shall close my eyes and open them slowly - am I dreaming? - and enjoy the moment. Next take a deep breath and take another bite to make sure it was real. After the first two bites you just want to slow down. We did slow down but we did ultimately eat it all (surprise, surprise) - the souffle, the brulee, the cookies brought out to us a bit later, the green tea (delish) and the coffee (was told it was fine). The next step (and on the drunker side) was to make it to the bathroom suavely, get my coat, and walk it off. Well, we did walk home but walking it off might take more than a mere 15 blocks for, on the way out, compliments of Bouley was a tea cake from Bouley Bakery wrapped up to go and in a white paper bag (with handles). The host handed it to me, "For the lady to carry?" We enjoyed our remnants of last night's dinner, the tea cake, this morning on the roof with coffee and soymilk and reminisced about the world's best creme brulee. And oh yeah - the bliss of the last year!! That came up, too!
And that is All About Last Night's Dinner.
Posted by Jess Shevitz Rauch at 11:34 PM