Daniel- a Huge Disappointment
Yes, the restaurant is beautiful. Yes, the service was wonderful. But shouldn't it be all about the food?
It started with three amuses- delivered by a waiter who really didn't know what was in them. The three of them were bland as could be. The next amuse was a gorgonzola cleanser, which was fine.The bread service was wonderful, with three types of butter put on the table.
For appetizers, the three people I was with had the +$25 supplement of foie gras. All three people said it was bland without much flavor. My appetizer of the scallops in pistachio and licorice sauce had excellent flavor, except the two scallops were watery in the middle when biting into them. Were these frozen scallops? I find that hard to believe, but don't have another explanation. This said, this was the best thing we all ate this night.
We decided to do a second course of truffle pasta. The 12 mini ravioli's that came in the giant bowl were perfectly cooked. And the production of shaving the truffles was fine, until the truffle shaver broke mid shave...having him find another one, letting the pasta cool even more, and then shaving on a few more strands of truffle. This dish was minute, yet cost a cool $140.
For main courses one person had the +$16 grouse, which was described as quite gamey with a pronounced flavor. It should have been described as being a bird with a cool name with no flavor.
Two people had the +$14 duo of beef, and neither one of them raved about their dish either. Me, I had the bluefin tuna- three small slices of tuna, one being the belly, the other being the loin, neither of them being very good.
We ordered a couple of desserts which were fine, the gelato was outstanding, but then a weird thing happened. Out came the coffee with dessert, and the after desserts as well. Like dinner service was over, bye.
Needless to say, Daniel is not inexpensive. Add the supplements, and drinks and/or wine, and you're looking at at least $250 per person for dinner. For these prices, everything should be sublime.
All in all, it was a lovely evening, dampened only by not such great food. The service, the place as I said were fantastic....but what happened to the food?
One last note. Last week we had dinner at Piora, a new little restaurant on Hudson Street. While it wasn't as opulent as Daniel, the service was wonderful, the place beautiful, and each and every morsel of every course we ate was amazing. It was like a mini Daniel, with great food. This is what I expected from Daniel- it didn't happen and it was a huge disappointment.
Sorry to hear that. May be it was a bad night? I really don't know.
Daniel has always been great in terms of both service AND food since when I was not a regular visiting New York only once a year, until now when I am a regular living in the city.
For me, the biggest disappointment among fine dining places these days is Per Se's desserts. Their desserts have seriously dropped in quality compared to many years ago.