60 East 65th St.
New York, NY 10065
Even though Daniel Boulud is a rock star global celebrity
chef with a number of restaurants in New York, not to mention newer projects
throughout the US and soon China, Restaurant Daniel remains his home base.
Every time I have been to Daniel recently it has been as part of a large group,
so I was curious to see what a more intimate dining experience might be like.
Boulud’s cooking reflects a modern, and sometimes highly inventive,
re-interpretation of many of the French classics but with few exceptions
retains a clearly identifiable connection to tradition. The service was equally
superb; attentive and professional but never intrusive. From start to finish,
everything about this meal was about as perfect as readers are likely to find
We started with the 1998
Henriot Brut, which showed some pretty, secondary nuances that rounded out
its creamy-textured fruit. We enjoyed this generous Champagne alongside the
small selection of beautifully prepared savory tarts served before dinner. The
two scallop dishes were delicious. I especially loved the sweetness of the bay
scallops. Both dishes showcased incredible detail and nuance in their flavors. Domaine Blain-Gagnard’s 2004
Chassagne-Montrachet wasn’t terribly complex, but the bright acidity and
minerality of the wine worked very well with the scallops. There are certain
types of food where I actually prefer a simpler wine that is a complement to a
dish rather than a more important wine which might compete, and this was one of
those pairings that suceeded because the wine wasn’t too dominanting.
From the moment it was opened it was abundantly clear De Montille’s 2005 Vosne-Romanée Les
Malconsorts was a special wine. In fact, I couldn’t wait to actually drink
it! The aromatics alone were breathtaking, with deeply spiced layers of fruit
that melded seamlessly onto the plate, where layers of dense fruit provided
immense pleasure. This wine of remarkable balance and poise revealed
extraordinary finesse in its tannins and a totally seductive personality. It
will of course only improve with cellaring, but it was stunning on this night.
Of our two main courses I preferred the lamb, which was the more classic of the
two dishes. The flavors and textures were simply brilliant throughout.
A selection of cheeses followed. Albert Mann’s 2005 Pinot Gris Altenbourg Vendanges Tardives was
gorgeous in its expression of sweet citrus, jasmine and lime. Though delicate
and understated, it showed great length and a pretty note of minerality on the
finish that gave the wine lovely balance and harmony. It was a great choice for
this group of mostly mild cheeses. We finished with an appropriately decadent
chocolate upside-down soufflé. Taylor
Fladgate’s 1985 Port was a pretty wine, but the fruit was dried out and the
wine’s structural components seemed to dominate.
Citrus salt baked bay scallops with soft polenta fennel,
blood orange glaze
Roasted sea scallops with savory cabbage embeurée, sautéed
chanterelles, pink peppercorn, navette oil
Canard â l’Orange: Cara cara lacquered breast with watermelon
radishes, crispy leg with foie gras, wilted spinach
Elysian Fields Farm Lamb: Roasted chop and tenderloin with
rosemary Sicilian olive tapenade shoulder and Swiss chard stuffed with anelli
Selection of cheeses
Chocolate upside-down soufflé with pistachio ice cream
Domaine Blain-Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet
De Montille Vosne-Romanée Les Malconsorts
Albert Mann Pinot Gris Altenbourg Vendanges Tardives
[Photo and credit, Daniel, New York]