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May 12, 2008 03:58 PM

Bouley - Tasting Menu or A la carte?

So I think I've decided on Bouley over Cafe Boulud for a birthday dinner tomorrow. Anyone have thoughts on whether I should go for the tasting menu or the a la carte? The tasting menu seems a little limited (and there's no straight foie gras preparation) in terms of appetizers/first course/desserts, although I guess in most places you don't even get a choice for the tasting menu so maybe it's already better variety than normal places. If anyone thinks the best courses there are not on the tasting menu, please let me know!

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  1. You might want to order a la carte and add an extra course (I've done it). The foie gras preparation at Bouley is among the best in NYC (if you like foie gras, please don't miss it).

    1. I agree with ellenost that the foie gras dish at Bouley is great, and I also liked to order a la carte myself as there are certain dishes in the tasting menu that I didn't like. Also, Bouley is very flexible and one person can order the tasting while the other person can order the a la carte. They don't restrict the whole table to order tasting menus only.

      By the way, when I said freebies in the other thread, it isn't just the standard amuse and pre-dessert. They gave me two small pre-desserts before the real pre-desserts (so 3 pre-desserts!) and also an amazing potato puree to go with your entree (this potato puree is quite standard though as I always received it whenever I ate there).

      3 Replies
      1. re: kobetobiko

        Thanks for the info. I will go with the a la carte menu. I'm thinking of just getting the following (this is for 2):

        - Panaché of Three Salads
        Foie Gras Napoleon with Pruneaux d’Agen, Croquant
        Brûlée of Butternut Squash, and Warm Parmesan
        Cape Cod Sea Scallops and Florida Shrimp with Fresh Bay Leaf Sauce
        - Seared New York State Foie Gras
        with Pruneaux d’Agen and Apple-Rosemary Purée

        Lobster/Pig/Lamb - any recommendations here?

        The chocolate frivolous sounds good - anything else worth trying?

        Does anyone know if the portions are pretty generous? We're not huge eaters, if they do indeed give freebies (courses/desserts), I think an appetizer/entree/dessert will be plenty for us.

        1. re: kewlly

          I had the "Organic Connecticut Farm-Raised Baby Pig" dish as part of the lunch tasting menu and it was one of our favorite dishes of the meal.

          1. re: kewlly

            How did it end up? I am going this weekend and also trying to decide between the tasting menu or a la carte

        2. any more recommendations? i'm taking my bf there for his bday today and would like to know more about what to order a la carte. for the foie gras dish, are you referring to the one in the 'panache of 3 salads' or the NY state foie gras alone, or both? (ie, i'd rather get one and try another type of appetizer, but don't want to miss the best one that you're talking about). also, i'm between the cod, halibut, and black sea bass for the entree--any advice? thanks!

          2 Replies
          1. re: paddlestick101

            Sorry I never reported back. We ended up getting the Panache of three salads, the farm egg with black truffle, halibut and lobster. I was pretty disappointed with the experience overall. The food was all right, but really nothing special, and the foie gras in the three salad appetizer was a very small portion and not very flavorful. I liked the foie gras brulee at Jean-Georges and the foie gras terrine at EMP way better than what I got at Bouley. When I asked for bread or something to go with the slab of foie, I was told they didn't really provide anything to go with it (vs brioche at EMP and the brulee at JG). That might just be the way I like foie gras prepared though (mixed in with more flavors to offset the richness and add flavor).

            Service was also not great, it seemed like there were a lot of servers standing around, but we never felt like we were being paid a lot of attention to. We had to switch our original seats near the window because there was a fly on the curtain right above our table. Also, it was a birthday celebration, and after calling them three times and telling them specifically that it was my birthday, they still ended up bringing out the dessert to my fiance by mistake instead.

            I may just have been there on an off night, or ordered the wrong dishes off the menu, but I was pretty disappointed overall.

            1. re: kewlly

              Late reviews have not been very encouraging, but we'd like to go for lunch one day. The baby pig in the menu stands out for me. Do you guys think their $48 is a pretty good deal? I know JG is best at $28, but we're already going next week there.