During my visit to NYC last August I wanted to have one truly memorable, fabulous and decadent evening with my travel crazy cousin Josh from Kansas City (who was filming material for a pilot for the Travel Channel) and his housemate B who was visiting on business. My strategy for this was to pick one of the best restaurants in the city and make sure I had a booking. As Per Se was closed for the summer my choice was Daniel, one of the few restaurants to combine three Michelin stars with four NYT stars. I was close to being swayed by twitter advice from Matt Preston about the awesomeness of Corton but decided that the long running success and the more sedately luxurious dining setting would be better.
Daniel has the choice between a la carte, three course prix fixe ($108 + tax & tip) or tasting menu (six course $195 + $105 wine pairings and eight course $220 + $130 wine pairings). We chose the three course option after I made it clear to my dates that we would be sharing each course because I was blogging (quite possibly the motivating factor in me having a food blog). We chose Domaine Joseph Drouhin Vaudon Chablis (2009, $60) from the heavy tome that was the wine list after consultation with the Sommelier.
Our meal began with an amuse bouche of golden beet salad, borscht and smoked salmon to whet our appetites.
For the first course I chose the trio of arctic char, which showcased the versatility of the main ingredient brilliantly. The confit with tarragon and lemon balm (right) was delicious as was the pickled with yellow tomato vinaigrette and turmeric (left); however, the standout was the tartar with wasabi and Northern Lights caviar – a wonderful contrast of textures and flavours.
Josh’s chilled melon veloute with Maine lobster, compressed watermelon, lomo Iberico and espelette pepper cream was also amazing with its subtly spiced melon veloute contrasting nicely with the delicate lobster and more punchy combination of watermelon and ham.
B’s choice of peekytoe crab in an heirloom tomato gelée with Thai basil, avocado, mango, lilliput capers and olive bread tuile was a deliciously summery combination.
I chose the duo of beef for my main, which comprised of delectably sticky Black Angus short ribs with cauliflower mousseline and lusciously tender seared wagyu tenderloin with chantarelles, crispy potato and poached bone marrow.
Josh had the tasting of veal with rare roasted tenderloin with eggplant puree, amazing braised cheeks with glazed zucchini and crispy sweetbreads with caper caponata (which was hastily remade when B knocked water onto Josh’s plate). The sweetbreads were ‘unfortunately’ a bit daunting for Josh, so I helped him out by finishing them.
B’s chose the Yellowfin tuna ‘a la plancha’ (Spanish for grilled) with sweet pepper ragout, marinated anchovies, chickpea panisse, mustard salad and iberico ham.
For dessert I was swayed by the warm guanaja chocolate coolant with liquid caramel, fleur de sel and milk sorbet. The coulant was decadent with its oozing salted caramel paired with a not too sweet milk sorbet… and yes that is gold leaf on the cake.
Josh chose the lemongrass poached pineapple with coconut meringue, lime-rum gelée and piña colada sorbet.
B went with the caramelized hazelnut crumble with dulce de leche cream, caraïbe chocolate mousse and horchata ice cream.
Our server decided to bring us out the lavender-honey roasted apricots with almond milk cream, crunchy praline and apricot saffron sorbet, compliments of the house.
By this stage we were feeling pretty full but were tempted into further indulgence by:
freshly baked madeleines still warm from the oven,
and finally chocolates.