Saturday, August 15, 2009

Two Great New York Meals

Lucky me! This week I took my wife to Chanterelle for our anniversary and she took me and another couple to Daniel for my birthday.

Chanterelle has long been our "go-to" restaurant for special events. We took the restaurant over for my father's 70th birthday, and then again for my wife's 50th: both marvelous events. And numerous anniversaries, birthdays and Valentine's Days.

Our recent meal was one of the best we have had there. We had the tasting menu, which started with assorted sashimi for me (and a surprisingly delicious tomato consommé for my wife who can't eat raw fish), then zucchini blossoms stuffed with chicken and truffles, grilled cobia with a smoked corn coulis, aiguilletes of loin of lamb with rosemary and polenta fries, and finally vanilla brioche with cherry compote, chocolate sauce and port ice cream for dessert (although my wife selected a chocolate tart from the menu). Not to mention innumerable amuse-bouches at the beginning and mignardises at the end. The only problem with the tasting menu is that you have to pass up the signature seafood sausage, which is quite simply the best I have ever encountered and indeed one of the best things I have ever eaten. A bargain at $95, although the wine list is very, very, very high-priced. They charge $50 for corkage, though, so buy yourself a nice bottle of wine and enjoy it there.
Daniel is not a restaurant we frequent, although we do go fairly often to Cafe Boulud and the wonderful Bar Boulud near Lincoln Center. We had a sensational six-course tasting menu that included some amazing dishes, perhaps most notably: rabbit "porchetta" with chorizo, red snapper ceviche, kataifi crusted red mullet, whole dorade "à la plancha," bacon and foie gras stuffed squab breast, lamb chop or veal three ways. Two of us had dietary issues, the others did not, so there were two different menus. I have named the dish that I thought was the better of the two for each course, having split almost all the dishes with my wife. A cheese platter and two different duos of fruit and chocolate desserts followed, with mignardises too numerous to mention. This was a special event with its own custom menu, so it cannot be duplicated without a lot of effort (and expense). However, the level of cuisine was truly impressive and we will go back again on the "ordinary" track.

As I said at the outset, lucky me!

Bobby Jay

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