Every year, my roommate from grad school, Stephanie, and I do something fun around the holidays. Back then, we didn’t have the time or money for gifts, so we decided that instead of buying something for each other, we would do something fun instead, such as seeing a movie, or going out to dinner. To carry on the tradition, we planned a fun day in the city, including lunch, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, and the 9/11 Memorial.
First stop was lunch at Bouley. I’d been wanting to try this place for a long time, and figured we could splurge on a fancy lunch, since the other plans for the day were free. You know you are in for a treat when you walk into a restaurant and see a wall full of apples. Floor to ceiling! In addition to being a cool design feature (seems like something Hildi would have done on “Trading Spaces”), it gave the room the most pleasant scent. As our coats were being checked I inquired as to whose job it was to replace those apples, and it turns out that they only need to be replaced every 6-7 weeks. So there’s some useful information for you, in case you’re looking for a new design feature in your living room.
We were seated in the main dining room, which was gorgeous, and subtly decorated with seasonal greenery. After looking over the menu, we both decided to go for the lunch tasting menu. To start, we received a small bowl of butternut squash soup with toasted pine nuts. For the first course, we both had the carpaccio of kampachi, young blue-fin, and striped amber jack, and it was incredible; just melted in your mouth. For the second course, I chose the black cod with pistachio miso, organic buckwheat, and ginger aromatic sauce. I was curious to try Stephanie’s porcini flan with dungeness crab. Both were outstanding. Just as we were starting to get full from our dishes, and the delicious rolls, they brought the bread cart to our table. An entire cart of freshly baked bread! There were even 8 different kinds to choose from. Carb heaven! For the third course, I selected the Organic Long Island Duck, with white truffle honey, puree of organic dates, and white turnips. I’d never had duck before, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to try it. It was prepared well, and sauce was delicious. The plate had so much foam on it that we both wondered if it had been prepared by Marcel from Top Chef! Next up was a palate cleanser of chilled melon soup with ricotta sorbet.
And then, time for dessert! I ordered the pear tart, while Stephanie chose the chocolate soufle, but in addition, the waiter brought out an extra plate with flan. We barely made a dent in the three dishes, as delicious as they were. Next thing we knew, the waiter brought out a tiered tray of petit fours. We could not believe how many desserts sat in front of us! Being the girls who have been known to order the dessert sampler on occasion, we just had to laugh – the chef must have known! I would have loved to try one or two of those treats, but I was too stuffed to attempt it.
Little did we know that that wouldn’t be the end of the sweets. Upon picking up our coats, we were each handed a bag with a loaf of lemon pound cake! The friendly people at Bouley sure know how to make their patrons feel satisfied. It was an amazing experience from start to finish. The food was, of course, fabulous. The decor was stunning, yet comfortable, and the service was impeccable. While a little pricey, it was certainly worth it. After that, we rolled ourselves out the door to check out the Rockefellar Center Christmas Tree. Check back in tomorrow for more on that!
What’s been your favorite dining experience? Do you have a restaurant that you’re just dying to check out?