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$45 for 5 courses at Bouley for lunch
March 24, 2011, 11:12 am
Filed under: Eat

Bouley offers one of the city’s best prix-fixe course lunch meals. For $45, you get 5 courses plus an amuse bouche and petits fours. Of course, you should probably not plan on going back to work afterwards unless your company thinks nothing of you being in a comatose state after lunch.

The amuse bouche on the day I went was a savory pumpkin soup whose sweetness was tempered with nutmeg for depth and creme fraiche for a tart kick. It was a great start to our meal.

Jilly had a carpaccio trio of of kampachi, big eye tuna & striped amber jack, but Bouley doesn’t specialize in sushi, and while the fish was good enough, it was still a little on the tough side. Would not recommend as I suspect they do not-raw-fish better than they do raw fish.

Maybe you just can’t go wrong with miso black cod. I ordered the black cod marinated in something earthy with a ginger aromatic foam. It was heavenly. Flakey, meaty, crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside.

When the porcini flan with Alaska Dungeness crab came out, I was giddy over the covered copper casserole pot. I was surprised that the flan was as watery as it was, however, as it had the texture of very soft tofu rather than the firmer, jigglier flan I’m used to. Despite those expectations, however, I found the soup plus soft-tofu-textured-flan combo to be quite scrumptious. The broth tasted of crab, and the huge chunk of crab on top was very generous.

The New Zealand White Fallow venison with black truffle gnocchi was rich and wintery with its toasted brussel sprout leaves and buttery red wine reduction. The meat was cooked medium rare and was bursting with juice and flavor.

I enjoyed the organic Long Island roast duck with white truffle honey, Vermont chanterelle mushrooms, skinny little spears of asparagus, and a porcini puree. I would normally steer clear of sweeter flavors, but I find that I like a hint of sweetness with my duck, and this dish did not overdo it.

When I first read that I’d be having coconut soup for my fourth course at the Bouley lunch, I was incredulous. Why on earth would I want to have a coconut soup? That didn’t sound appetizing to me at all. But then the “soup” came out and I was blown away. It is exactly what I love in a dessert. There was just a hint of coconut in the chilled “broth” of the soup, which surrounded a pineapple granita (shaved ice) and was topped with a tart, organic Greek yogurt sorbet. More tart than sweet, just like I like it. I ate Jilly’s, too, because she said she felt like the yogurt sorbet needed honey.

For her dessert course, she ordered the Chocolate Frivolous to compensate for the lack of sweetness in the coconut soup. It came with a chocolate brulee, a melted chocolate cake, a hazlenut daquoise, a chocolate ice cream sandwich, an ice-cream-like bar you could pick up with your fingers, a white coffee ice cream, and a chocolate ice cream.

I ordered the cheese plate. I can’t tell you what the cheeses were because I simply don’t remember, but I can tell you that it was super duper stinky and very strong and also the perfect end to my meal.

Or so I thought. They also brought out a tiered tray of petit fours for us. As we were both stuffed, but I couldn’t resist trying one bite of everything. The server raised his eyebrow at me when he saw that I had returned all the petit fours leftovers to the tray with bites missing, but he got over it.

All in all, a very good meal. I still prefer David Burke Townhouse, but it was a good experience nonetheless.

Eat: Bouley (Tribeca) 163 Duane Street; New York, NY 10013. (212) 964-2525.

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