Picholine report - longish
Had a pre-Met dinner at Picholine Friday night, as miserable a night in New York as you can imagine, with blustery rain and a biting wind. Perfect, then, to arrive at the elegant Picholine for a warm welcome and the expectation of a great dinner. I love to sit at that bar and have cheese and a glass of wine, but it had been a couple of years since my last dinner in the restaurant proper, so I was excited by the prospect.
Picholine likes to seat couples side-by-side at a four top, always a lovely arrangement, although my GF and I weren't so lucky. We got a regular two-top, which was fine. (The next couple to be seated near us were obviously on a first date by the look of terror on her face when offered the side-by-side arrangement!)
Started off with an amuse of savory ricotta and a wonton. Delightfully odd, both. For apps, my GF had a delicious truffled egg, literally 'showered with truffles'. I had the lobster, which was perfectly cooked, napped in a light cream sauce.
The mains were less successful, at least for me. On a menu replete with meat, including lamb and venison, I chickened out and went with Scallops, which were moist, plump and fresh, as you would expect. But otherwise, unexceptional. Brilliant little potato chips served on top were a nice surprise. My GF had the John Dory fillets which were delicious, fried in a light floury crust.
For dessert, I went for Max's cheese plate, which were all cow's milk cheeses including an amazingly rich Durrus from Ireland. I'm surprised I didn't a chevre in the mix, I'm sure they have excellent. She had a Celery foam thingy which promised a lot more that it delivered. Perhaps Picholine shouldn't mess with faddy El Bulli touches like foam, but stick to its more mainstream instincts?
The only bad note, and it wasn't that bad, to be frank, was our waiter, an obsequious Jeeves of the old school, who obviously decided that I was a wanker, unworthy of his attention. So the service, while full of 'yes maams, and no sirs' was only so-so, compared to the attention being lavished on the other punters (for the record, my GF thought the dude was charming!). Fair enough, but I still can't figure out why he didn't like the cut of my jib. I have the feeling he was a little hormonal, possibly brought on by the lousy weather.
Total for the night, including tip, was $250. The score? I'd give it a 9/10 for food. A little lower for service, but I accept that this was probably an aberration.
Picholine just closed and reopened after revamping the decor and the menu. It's great, playfully elegant, and takes itself much less seriously. Except of course, for the food, which is delicious. You can't go there and not get the paella spring rolls, they're divine. Best of all, the new menu allows you to experience almost all of Terrance Brennan's cuisine in the wine and tapas bar for extremely affordable tasting prices.
I wrote a post about it on my website:
Nice to read your report. I haven't eaten at Picholine for some time, but will never forget the magical meals I enjoyed when I was entertaining on the company credit card. I always remember the warmth of the place, and the welcome. I was experimenting with butternut squash then, and the bartender and I chatted on and on in detail about recipes. Lovely times.