(Note: all credit for the title of this post goes to David, because I couldn’t think of anything clever.)
The first time I went to Bouley, almost three years ago, it was one of the best meals I had ever had. Even to this day, I consider it one of my top meals in NYC. After recently finding out that Chef David Bouley is planning to go on sabbatical and reopen the restaurant in a much smaller space (cue the gasp of horror), I immediately made a reservation to have lunch there one more time with David, my trusty dining buddy.
The restaurant was exactly as I had remembered it – opulent decor, plush and velvety furniture, the epitome of luxury. We were even seated in the Red Room again, the downstairs dining area that resembles a French chateau.
We of course ordered their five-course lunch tasting menu, which has increased in price from $55 to $59, but is still very much fantastic value.
Our meal started off with a complimentary apple raisin slice and little baguette. I was also in the mood to try a drink so I ordered the Virgin Danube, a refreshing elderflower drink.
We were served several amuse-bouches: tomato coulis, pâte à choux with Comté cheese, and a kuzu chip with black truffle.
Then, the famous bread cart! The server offered us about ten different types of fresh bread baked with ingredients ranging from saffron walnut, to cherries, to black currant anise. We each got two slices to munch on while waiting for the rest of our food to come out.
For my first course, I chose the Hawaiian Hiramasa and Nantucket Blue Fin. The fish was served sashimi style.
Our second course was the Porcini Flan, which is 75% of the reason why I love Bouley so much. This dish is the absolute bomb – warm, flavorful mushroom puree over fluffy flan, laden with generous chunks of crab meat. I could easily eat four bowls of this as a meal.
My third course was the Organic Young White Fallow Venison. The meat was very tender and came served with a medley of purees on the side, including an interesting spiced banana one.
The fourth course was a light dessert course, meant to cleanse our palates. I went with the Cranberry-Hibsicus, which was a scoop of berry sorbet atop a hibiscus granita. It was pretty tart so I wasn’t a huge fan of this one. David’s coconut soup with pineapple, on the other hand, was amazing (think pina colada in fancy dessert form).
The fifth and final course was another dessert. I chose the Frivolous of Chocolate Valhrona (whose name I do not understand at all… is it a noun? Adjective? Something in French??) It was a very rich chocolate soufflé served with coffee gelato on the side. Another fantastic dish.
David ordered the Vacherin D’été, whose description said “salad of raspberries” but did not look like a salad at all, much to our surprise. David spent the entire time trying to decide if he liked the basil ice cream on top.
Our server also brought us a plate of baba au rhum, a small cake that he topped with apricot glaze, vanilla cream and some very strong rum. The rum was so strong I took one bite and had to pass on the rest, much to my sadness.
The meal ended a small plate of petits fours, including a leaf-shaped matcha chocolate that I totally thought was a real leaf until I looked closer.
Of course, I had to get some pictures with their beautiful apple-filled foyer on my way out (last chance before they relocate to a different building!!)
Conclusion: DEFINITELY have yourself a fancy meal at Bouley before they close at the end of 2016. Their lunch tasting menu is worth every penny.
163 Duane St
New York, NY 10013