Monday, October 31

Daniel - Flawless

We almost didn't make it to Daniel. A short nap stretched out to a couple of hours and we woke up 20 mins to our time of reservation; still groggy, we got dressed in 10mins and cabbed through the busy after-work peak traffic for our date with Daniel.

As we entered Daniel’s dining hall, the modern Renaissance decor took my breath away. For someone who has just renovated and moved into her new place, the cogs in my brain were spinning away, thinking of ways to incorporate certain design elements into the existing layout.

This is, after all, Daniel Boulud's flagship restaurant so we both went for the 6-course tasting menu. The one word I would use to describe our meal at Daniel is "flawless". All 12 dishes were extremely and consistently elegant; there were good and at times interesting flavors but nothing overtly exceptional.

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A trio of sweet potato amuse bouche. I feel bad for saying this as I'm sure some must have spent time creating these bouches but the flavours were too subtle for a sweet potato nut such as myself.

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Bread service - French baguettes, olive rolls, sourdough rolls, a multigrain roll, and raisin walnut bread. I picked an olive roll and was disappointed that it was cold (why such tragedy?!?!).

Onto our first course, characterized by duck.

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DUCK TERRINE WITH MARCONA ALMOND
Honeycrisp Apple Confit, Sauternes Glazed Date Mâche Salad, Hazelnut-Cider Vinaigrette

Nothing like a medley of flavours, led by the pung of duck terrine to kick things off.

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LOLA DUCK MOSAIC AND DAIKON RADISH

Can't fault this either... Mmm

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TASTING OF YELLOWFIN TUNA
En Tartare with Northern Lights Caviar Cured with Compressed Celery Confit with Anchovy Dressing

Good but not wow.


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WASABI CURED FLUKE WITH SHISO BAVAROIS
Roasted Beets, Edamame Coulis, Seaweed Bread Tuile

Firm but sweet, the fluke (a flatfish) was exceptional. It was my first time trying a fluke but oddly and gladly enough, it wouldn’t be my last on this trip.

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ARTICHOKE AND SQUID INK RAVIOLINI
Little Neck Clams, Ruby Red Shrimp, Razor Clams Sea Beans, Saffron Cream, Opal Basil

Not a pasta fan but I wanted more of this.

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CRISPY SCOTTISH LANGOUSTINES
Tandoori Hearts of Palm, Pickled Kumquat, Lemon Balm

Yummeh fried crustacean... Easy win.

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BACON WRAPPED SWORDFISH
Spaghetti and Butternut Squash, Confit Cipollini Onion
Pumpkin Seed Gremolata, Ommegang Beer Jus

The bacon overpowered the swordfish but contrasted well against the sweet buttersquash puree. 

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ATLANTIC FLAKED COD WITH TARBAIS BEANS
Wild Lambsquarters, Chorizo, Parsley and Marcona Almond Emulsion

The cod was good but I thought the meats were more memorable.

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DUO OF BEEF
Black Angus Short Ribs with Cauliflower Mousseline
Seared Wagyu Tenderloin, Oyster Mushroom Crispy Potato, Poached Bone Marrow

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ROASTED VEAL TENDERLOIN WITH CREAMY POLENTA
Poached Cheeks with Parsley Pasta
Crispy sweetbreads with Chanterelles and Crosnes

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Desserts - something fruity and something chocolatey.

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LEMONGRASS POACHED PINEAPPLE
Coconut Meringue, Lime-Rum Gelée
Piña Colada Sorbet

Refreshing tingling pick-me-up.

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WARM GUANAJA CHOCOLATE COULANT
Liquid Caramel, Fleur de Sel, Milk Sorbet

Kind of expecting to be wowed but this was uber gooey decadence nonetheless.

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APPLE SPONGE CAKE AND CINNAMON ICE CREAM

A little sweet something from the kitchen to celebrate the occasion.

Post-dessert sweets include

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Fluffiest mini Madelines - swoon.

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Petit fours.

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Chocolate nibbles - coffee creme brulee, peanut butter, blueberry and passionfruit.

It was then when we saw Daniel Boulud himself working the dining room and I must admit I was a little starstruck.

As you can see there were many components on the plate but most of it was pretty forgettable. Service was tip top professional and even synchronized at times but lacking genuine warmth.

Daniel may be to be one of only five Manhattan restaurants to have 4 The New York Times' stars rating as well as three Michelin stars, but months from today, the only thing I would remember is how beautiful the  dining room was.

2 comments:

Lisa said...

Did you really eat ALL that?? Looks like a work of art.

yx said...

heehee portions aren't that big ... but throw in the madelines, petit fours and chocs, let's just say it was a good idea to walk 30 blocks back to our hotel.