Lunch at Bouley

Bouley was one of the first fine dining establishments I ate at in New York my first year here. I remember loving everything about it- the food, wine and atmosphere. Fast forward to last week when ten years later I finally had a chance to return for a lovely lunch with friends.

The whole experience actually started out pretty shaky. At first we somehow walked right past the restaurant without even noticing. Then once we backtracked the door wouldn’t open. Seriously! We pushed, pulled, pounded- nothing. I was beginning to freak out a little- did they close down and not inform of this? Another older couple walked up as well and had no luck. Finally someone exited the restaurant and we ran in before the door shut. Apparently their door was locked by accident. Well that’s certainly not a way to bring customers inside!

Anyway- once inside the door we were greeted by the amazing smell of apples lining the inner corridor. I felt like some one had slapped me in the face with some autumn love. It was as intense as it was beautiful. We checked our coats and were seated at a table towards the back of the restaurant. Once we chose a nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc we were presented with an amuse bouche from the chef.

Pumpkin Soup with Crème Fraiche. This soup was just delightful. Pumpkin is one of my favorite foods and I loved the subtle spices and velvety crème fraiche. It was a fabulous way to start the meal and a sign of good things to come.

For my first course I ordered the Chatham Blue Fin Tuna with Marinated Japanese Turnip, Spicy Radish and a Yuzu-Miso Dressing. When this dish showed up I was excited how visually simple and perfect it looked. When I think of French food I think of lots of creams and sauces. With this dish they simply let the fish be the star of the show and did little besides show casing this beautiful and luscious piece of tuna.

For my second course I had the Porcini Flan, with Alaska Live Dungeness Crab
And Black Truffle Dash. First of all I loved the little copper pot this came in. I really wanted to take it home with me. Then I tasted the contents and I was really blown away. The broth was incredibly rich with enormous mounds of fresh, sweet crab meat and little truffles floating around making each bite more complex and tantalizing than the one before.

Well apparently the richness of the flan did me in a little because somehow I didn’t get a shot of my next course Organic Long Island Duckling Roasted with Truffle Honey, Puree of Nevada Organic dates with Turnips and a Julienne of Local Beets. I think I had been ordering another bottle of wine for the table and the picture just slipped my mind. Suffice it to say though the dish was excellent! The duck was a perfect medium rare and the dates and honey gave it an interesting and sweet balance that worked perfectly with the fatty meat.

No picture of the duck but I remembered to get a shot of our mashed potatoes! Each of us received our own little bowl of these guys and they were tasty but nothing special. I’m kind of ruined on upscale mashed potatoes. Nothing has even come close to the ones I enjoyed at Joel Robuchon.

Onto our palate cleanser for the day a Chilled Coconut Soup. I did not enjoy the coconut flavor or icy, crunchy texture of the fruit at all. However it did cleanse my palate a bit for what came up next.

Dessert! Believe it or not this is all for me. This is called Chocolate Frivolous. It contained a Chocolate Brulee, Chocolate Parfait, Hazlenut Daquoise, Chocolate Walnut Spice Bread, White Coffee Ice Cream and Prune Armagnac Ice Cream. This was way to much dessert for one woman to handle but I managed to try a little of each bite and polished off the Hazelnut Daquoise and Prune Ice Cream with no problem.

I didn’t take a picture of any one else’s food that day but last minute I snapped a picture of my friends cheese course. I just thought the cheese flower in the middle was absolutely gorgeous!

After all of that food they ended by bringing up an array of petite fours. I was so full at this point I thought I was going to burst. I tried to muster down a couple of bites but it was too much- I physically couldn’t put another bite of food into my body.

The best part about this meal besides the fabulous food, gorgeous décor and wonderful service- the price. This four course meal with lots of freebies added in was only $36 a person. That is a ridiculously good deal. I would seriously dine here once a month if I could afford all the bottles of wine. Bouley was a wonderful way to wine and dine away the afternoon.


Maria said…
I'm ready to go back!