Has anyone been to Gayle recently? I will be going for the first time, and was wondering if anyone has any recommendations, things to avoid, etc. I know it doesn't get written about much on this board, but I know people like it. Any info would be helpful.
Went to Gayle last night for the first time in awhile (so many restaurants, so little time). We ordered the Gayle chowder/casino pizza and the sweetbreads as starters and the veal stew and the beef tenderloin/shepards pie as seconds. The chowder was very good (about a dozen small littlenecks, bacon lardons and potato cubes broth poured over at service - thinner than regular chowder with an herbed oil) . The casino pizza was basically a small (two inch round?) calazone like thing filled with a clams casino like mix. Unfortunately it was dry - the only disappointment. The sweetbreads came with a preserved lemon and herb sauce, fennel, mushrooms (mitake?) and were breaded. They had some crispy bits which were very good and some where the breading was wetter from the sauce. Overall though we really enjoyed them. I had the veal stew and it was amazing. I asked and was told the veal was humanely raised - who knows - but I try. This dish had sweetbreads, tongue, ribs, steak, fingerling potatoes, a "trotter crouton" and a cigar filled with veal. It was rich and amazing. I only managed to eat half. Chow-spouse had the beef/shepards pie. That was also very good, beef seared rare as requested with a smokey sauce and shortribs meat wrapped in mashed potatoes and then in bacon. Wow. My only issue is I ordered food that was too rich - I was thinking the plates were smaller so it wouldn't be a problem, but they are fairly substantial. Neither of us finished our meal. I must say I would love to try the Bass/romaine/red onion dish, which is an olive oil poached fish, topped with a romaine puree and wilted romaine salad, and red onions prepared in three different ways - I think pickled, in a marshmellow (did I hear that right?) and something else I can't recall. Another note to future diners - the table next to us ordered a selection of "firsts" and a side of the truffled mac and cheese (that smelled good!) and told the server to bring them in whatever order was convenient, WAY too many things came out at once - so if you go that route, tell them two at a time or give some other instruction. The wait staff realized the problem and stopped themselves but not quite soon enough. The service was delightful. Sadly, they were out of the truffled risotto fingers - I believe I have selected my next meal at Gayle - the fingers and the fish.....mmmmm
bigley, you heard that right... however the menu has apparently changed between your visit and mine (tonight) and the same dish was advertised except with a trout. a boring fish to me, but the preparations sounded really interesting so i had to try it. the tartare with the red onion marshmallow WORKS. the marshmallow somehow incorporates pureed red onion and beet juice for coloring ---this chef really seems to like his food processor, which i can appreciate, because so do i. i don't know why or how but it was really great. unfortunately the poached trout didn't fare as well - was a bit boring compared to the rest of the meal. though the portions were huge, way more than we needed!
working my way backwards... i started out with the lobster roll. if lobster ever graces the menu of a nicer place, i can't help but indulge. i love lobster. this dish was good but missed the mark of a real lobster roll, to me (i spent several days a few months ago gorging myself on these up and down the coasts of maine and new brunswick). this dish had good bread, but i couldn't tell if it was grilled with butter, so i guess that was the biggest part missing. the mayo it came with was pretty good. still, there aren't too many places to get lobster here, so i was appreciative.
the SO had a beet salad that was probably the highlight of the meal. various beets, beet puree, micro greens and a fantastic dressing made for a very colorful and beautiful dish... and i don't even like beets, generally! the SO also had the venison special, which was venison something like 5 ways. i didn't try this, but she reports the sausage-like and meat-loaf preparations were nowhere near as good as just the plain chop done med rare.
in general we both enjoyed our meals, but there was a definite disconnect between price and food for us. the prices dictate this as a special-occasion-only place. however with all the upscale restaurants i've yet to try (in this neighborhood alone!: passed up ansill to dine at gayle tonight... and the original plan was southwark however it is closed til the 13th for renovations unbeknownst to us til the bus dropped us off unceremoniously on their darkened front stoop) --anyway, with all i've yet to try, i can't see getting back here for a special occasion. in total i think we spent $170, two of us. i spent less at zahav the other night, but enjoyed more. i don't know how the current economy affects places at these price points, but i can say the place was empty when we were there. two other tables, maybe? during dinnertime on a friday night (albeit a frigid one - and another tip, don't sit by the door! i was wishing i hadn't checked my coat).
so southwark is open again after re-doing floors and i went for dinner last night.
the guys who staff the bar are aMAzing - some of the best bartenders in this city. that restaurant should be proud of them! i didn't see anyone actually take a table in the dining room. everyone sat at the bar or the high tables surrounding it. they were funny, relaxed, and didn't seem to mind my slummy clothes at their nice bar.
this place is a leeeettle expensive but compared to my recent dinner at gayle, i definitely prefer southwark. in total the same two of us spent $140 but that included a dessert course, and slightly more wine, i think 3 glasses each (by the glass at southwark vs a bottle at gayle). however we did only get 1 appetizer instead of 2. and pricey lobster wasn't featured in this meal.
anyway. we split the hot goat cheese appetizer which was absolutely decadent (and probably negated the past month i've spent practicing yoga). it doesn't sound like much but GET IT. it comes with some flat crackers, apple slices and honey. very rich and buttery.
moved on to a cod for me and the monkfish for my dining partner. i like the texture and taste of cod better in general - i don't like that monkfish doesn't flake as nicely. however the weird beet sauce that the monkfish came with was really good. could i possibly be reversing my stance on beets?
dessert was bread pudding. i think an apple one? i say "i think" because the flavors were not entirely strong enough. it was better than the disastrous bread pudding i had at earth bread + brewery the other day, but it was no match for ortlieb's, which still stands as my favorite bread pudding in the city.
anyway, we'll be back to southwark... the menu changes seasonally, right? it was pretty small, so i'll wait for a new menu, likely.