LA Chowhound in NYC : GRAMERCY TAVERN
- Tom P
Wow. What a great restaurant. I love the interior - spacious, romantic, lots of wood and soft lighting. I went with a friend of mine who came up from DC and we both felt it was the best meal, best restaurant we have experienced. The 7 course Spring Vegetable Tasting menu looked amazing to me, but we dined there rather late, so we opted for the three course meal (which we turned into four course by experiencing the cheese course, more on that later). For the first course, we had the Fondue of Main Crab, and a Spiced Roasted Lobster with Green Tomato Chutney. Both were just excellent. The crabmeat was divine, as was the lobster. And the chutney that accompanied the Lobster was out of this world. For the main courses, I chose the Braised Shoulder and Roasted Loin of Lamb, and he had the Roast Sirloin of Beef and Braised Shortrib. Again, they were both superb. Neither of us could get over how good this food tasted. The waitress was taking great care of us. My friend was having a cocktail, so she brought me, the wine lover, various tasting sized selections of wines with every course. The choices were perfect, I loved each one. (I fell in love with one of the reds in particular; she appeared later on with the label from the bottle, stuck to a card, so I could find it when I returned to LA. It was this kind of attention to detail, and care for the customer, I found with every employee of Danny Meyer's restaurants. You can't trade that kind of service for anything). We were having such a good time at this point, and so totally content with the food, that we decided to try the cheese course. I have never experienced a cheese course, at least in this 'high-toned' way; I reccommend it to anyone who loves cheese. She rolled out a beautiful cart with many cheeses and took an extraordinary amount of time to explain each one, where it came from, how it was made, and what it was like. We tried about 8 or 9 of them. It was just heaven. We did not even use the bread or the crackers that came with the cheeses, they were too good not to be eaten alone. For dessert, we had the Coconut Tapioca, and the Lemon Souffle Tart with Ginger Ice Cream. Again, both were superb. This is a stand out restaurant in every way. I'd fly back to Manhattan just for a night to eat there again.
I think you've hit on something here, which crystallizes for me why Grammercy Tavern is my favorite of the high-end restaurants I've tried.
There are many places (including GT) where there is great attention to the food. At GT, the goal seems to be (more than at other places) to make the customer happy. And they spare little expense (in time or money) to make that happen.
It's also the only place I've been where they changed the tablecloth between courses because something was spilled.
I've been saying--even harping on--most of that for years now. In fact, there isn't a high-end restaurant in the WORLD that I love more than Gramercy Tavern. And that goes for chef Tom Colicchio, too.
I was very recently taken there for a birthday feast, and had the best lamb I've had--since the last time I ate there! (And I do a lot of lamb!) There were sashimi-like slices of (barely) seared crimson loin resting on a slice of roasted shoulder so brimming with flavor I had to rest between bites! The seared foie gras curled my toes, and I have been constitutionally unable to resist ordering Claudia Fleming's coconut tapioca for five years.
But you're right, Peter, it's much more than that. Danny Meyer is rightly credited with reinventing hospitality, and the ways in which his staffs welcome you, take you in, and pointedly try to delight you really makes you and yours feel special.
I dine out a lot, and I've never found a restaurant with this level of sheer consistency. NOTHING I've ever tasted there was less than, well, revelatory--over and over again!
I was lucky (and persistent) enough to snag a 1:30 table during Restaurant Week. Counting the minutes!
I can't wait to try Craft, Colicchio's newborn right behind GT.
I'll start by continuing with the GT wet kiss, but I have a question too.
I completely agree with these reviews. I don't think I've ever been to a restaurant that left me so happy at the end of the meal. Their fois gras is the best I've ever had. Hands down. Agree with what's been said about the service too. It's that attention to detail food-wise and service-wise while all the while maintaining a friendly environment that makes dining there the pleasure that it is.
Here's the question. How do you go about ordering wines by the glass to fit the meal? Is this part of a prix fix or something one simply asks for? If you don't mind my asking, is it very expensive?
re: Brendan Taylor
I simply left it in the server's capable hands. I asked her to choose what she felt was an appropriate wine for each course. It is not cheap exactly, but because Gramercy offers tasting size portions of the wine (basically half a glass) it is not outrageous either. Try it sometime... at least at a place where you can trust the waiter or waitress
They both sounded so good, I just wanted to give them a try. And I love good American food. American and Italian are my favorites. I enjoy French but not quite as much. I intended to try Daniel, Lespanisse (sp?) or Cote Basque (sp?) the last night of my trip, but a conflict arose and I missed out. I will try some of the ones you mentioned next trip.
re: Brendan Taylor
We pour 8 red, 8 white, 1 rose and 4 sparkling wines by the glass (6oz) or half glass (3oz)You can either ask your server to pair wines for you or choose them yourself.
In terms of cost, we'll put just about anything on by the glass so it doesn't always follow that they'll be on the low end of the price scale. We simply divide the bottle price by 4. We're really looking for a balance between old and new world and so on.
But read the list! Just asking for the "house Chardonnay" on the night we're pouring Kistler ...and Cheers! :-)