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Tocqueville Solo Lunch Review - Foodgasmic! (photos within)

Fantastic American fine dining restaurant with French technique. Just came here for a solo lunch on Saturday and the experience blew my mind!

I was greeted kindly by the maitre d' and the server Miguel and was led to the classy and elegant dining room. Because I arrived at 12:30pm, I was the first and only diner at the time. I got to pick whichever table that struck my fancy.

While I was tempted by the $24.07 prix fixe lunch menu, I came here with the singular purpose of trying two signature dishes: California Sea Urchin and Angel Hair Carbonara, and Seared Diver Sea Scallops and Foie Gras.

1. Bread Service - brioche, olive foccacia
The bread service consisting of house-baked brioche, olive foccacia, rosemary foccacia, and walnut bread still warm from the oven arrived promptly. The brioche was rich and fluffy, but my favorite was the savory and tasty olive foccacia. Man, I could eat that all day.

2. Amuse Bouche - house-cured salmon, pickled papaya, pureed scallion green
The cured salmon was wrapped around two matchsticks of pickled papaya. It was only one bite, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Refreshing and light.

3. California Sea Urchin and Angel Hair Carbonara - sea lettuce, lime, and soy
This was a creamy pasta topped by generous pieces of sea urchin (uni). Wow, they sure didn't skimp on the uni. The fatty, rich uni combined with the buttery-eggy angel hair pasta goodness made this an ultra decadent dish. Thank goodness for the sea lettuce helping to balance out the creamy richness. The portion was quite large for an appetizer and the dish was so satisfying that I'd have been perfectly happy had the meal ended right then.

4. Seared Diver Sea Scallops and Foie Gras - chanterelles, braised artichokes, and cider vinegar gastrique
The plate arrived with two huge scallops topped by a piece of foie gras, the entire thing resting on a bed of chanterelle mushroom and artichoke. Mmmm... sweet and tender scallops and oooooh... rich and nutty foie gras. I'm at a loss for words. Every forkful kept on setting off fireworks in my mouth. This was the ultimate pleasure one's taste buds could experience. Total foodgasm. *sighs*

4. Ice Cream Sampling - cherry, vanilla, pistachio, cappuccino, chocolate
To round out this unbelievable meal, a sample of 5 ice cream flavors arrived (I'm a total ice cream fiend). The server Miguel brought along a bottle of wine to the table and said, "Here's something that we thought would suit your dessert. This is complimentary." He proceeded to pour me a glass of a light and fruity white wine. Wow, what a nice gesture! I was pleased. The ice creams all had unique undertones in taste from their regular street counterparts and was arranged in a precise order from the lightest to the heaviest in taste. I worked my way through the ice cream in the intended order and sipped the wine in between flavors. My favorite flavor was the cappuccino. Absolutely wonderful.

I was so full and satisfied at the end of this delightful meal. It was truly a most pleasurable experience. The restaurant staff, especially the server Miguel, was fantastic. The courses were paced perfectly. My water was refilled timely. I was never left in want of anything.

Beautiful dining room, great service, mind-blowingly good food. What could be better?

1 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

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  1. Yum! Makes me want to go :)

    1. Great report! Both your first and main courses sound and look delicious and beautiful! I'll repeat myself: I must try Toqueville (soon)!

      1 Reply
      1. re: ellenost

        Yes, ellenost! You definitely should! It really surprises me that you've never been there. It's one of our favorite places to have lunch, and Mr. R. and I keep saying that we haven't been there for dinner nearly enough. The cuisine is always superb, service is excellent, and the elegant dining room is one of the most beautiful in the city. It's never busy at lunch (at least, whenever we've been there), and so it's very quiet and soothing. But at any time, a truly classy and civilized place to dine!


      2. Excellent report and beautiful photos, Cheeryvisage. The scallops and foie gras has been on the menu since the day Tocqueville opened in the space now occupied by 15 East, which is where I first had it and swooned! I've also had it since. It is phenomenal and fully deserves its signature status. As for the bread, I could easily overdose on the sensational brioche roll.

        Tocqueville photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...


        15 East
        15 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

        1. Thanks, guys. I noticed that Tocqueville (bewilderingly) doesn't seem to be that popular. I hope my experience does its part to help making it better known. This place totally deserves to be better known.

          RGR, I have totally seen your wonderful flickr photos! They definitely helped to convince me to try Tocqueville in the first place. :)

          1 Reply
          1. re: Cheeryvisage


            Thanks for letting me know that I played a part in your decision to go to Tocqueville. It's very flattering. :)

            When it first opened, it was much more high profile, and the dining room at #15, which is much smaller than the current one, was always full. Why since moving to these more spacious and elegant surroundings it seems to have fallen below the usual culinary radar is a mystery to me because in every way that counts, Tocqueville ranks among the best dining experiences in the city.


          2. I completely agree about Tocqueville. I had a spectacular dinner there earlier this year and was totally surprised that it hadn't gotten as many raves as some other places. It is truly a wonderful restaurant. You are spot on with the scallops and foie gras dish- it was one of the best things I've eaten this year to date. Overall, my meal at Tocqueville was one of the best I've experienced in the city when you take into account all areas. Food, service, atmosphere all were very special for me.

            Here is my review http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/773839.

            1. Great review - thanks for reminding me that I need to try this place already!

              1. Tocqueville is one of my favourites, if not my absolute favourite. I had the Greenmarket Menu the other night but was dying to know what the scallop was like. So glad you enjoyed it! Now I know I have to go back SOON.

                1. Around how much? And do you think with another app, would the uni pasta be enough for a diner for lunch?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: villainx

                    Their portions are generous so I would say absolutely without question yep.

                    1. re: steakrules85

                      Pre-tax and tip, the meal was a total of $65. If I didn't order dessert, the meal would have been $55. You can take a look at the menu on their website for prices of everything.

                      Yep, I think because the uni pasta was so rich, it would indeed be enough if you ordered another appetizer. If still not full with two appetizers, you could always ask for more bread (which by themselves are absolutely delicious).

                      1. re: Cheeryvisage

                        One of my fave places to dine. Can't forget the night we celebrated our anniversary there and the server picked up the "Happy Anniversary" toast. The pastry chef made a special desert for us with "Happy Anniversary" written in chocolate on the plate. Real class! I also can't understand why it's not that popular??????

                  2. It's been one of my favorite places to dine in New York for a long time. Love everything about the place. In addition to the scallops and foie gras, I'm always attracted by the signature asparagus salad. Need to get back there soon.

                    1. Based on your fabulous review, we're taking a break from a day of shopping to have lunch there. Thanks.

                      2 Replies
                        1. re: Cheeryvisage

                          We had lunch there yesterday. As Jewelin reported, the room was practically empty. By the end of our 1:30 lunch, we were the only ones in the restaurant. Aside from the beautiful room, as reported, the food and service was impeccable. We shared a blue fin sashimi and tartare combo which the kitchen split without our asking, always a plus for us. I had a composed Salad Nicoise and my husband had the Arctic Char, the one deliciously salty and the other delicate without being bland. Good, Argyle Brut sparkling wine as an apertif, but expensive at $18 a glass. They didn't have the very standard in most good restaurants, 12 year Glenlivet and 18 year was a reasonable for the price $25, but my husband opted for Dahlwinnie. Wine with the main course was a lovely Verdichio, quite reasonable at $13 a glass. No room for dessert except an espresso, but we were offered yummy miniature French macaroons, lemon, vanilla and licorice, which sounded weird, but was delicious.

                          1 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

                      1. I would like to add to your wonderful review and pictures, that this has been the BEST NYC restaurant experience of 2011 for us: 2 lunches and 2 dinners, with most recent visit to taste their M. Chapoutier wine tasting dinner. All around flawless along with service that extend beyond expectation, stepping out of this restaurant at the end of meal is like a date you don't want it to end.

                        1. Yes I'm also a big fan of Tocqueville, having first been alerted to it by this website. It's definitely one of the best lunch deals in the city. It does worry me, though, that most times I've been there the main dining room is in no way full. I hope they are doing ok, they deserve to be.

                          1. Since my initial report , I returned to Tocqueville for the third time with two friends and had a fabulous lunch.

                            The restaurant staff did a remarkable job to accommodate our table, allowing me to order the tasting menu and my friends to order a la carte. The timing difference made the staff's work more difficult, but they pulled it off superbly (this was while the dining room was almost full capacity). We dined like queens for nearly 4 hours. By the time we left, it was almost time for dinner service.

                            The food was fantastic as always. What a wonderful establishment this is!

                            By the way, Tocqueville now offers PĂ©rigord black truffles shaved on top of fettuccine or potato gnocchi. The appetizer-size price is $50, and entree-size price is $80. If you order the tasting menu, the black truffles are available for a $20 supplement.

                            Photos of our meal: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjyn6phP

                            1 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Cheeryvisage

                              As always, great information and beautiful photos! Thanks!