It took me several years before I finally made it to Gramercy Tavern. But I felt right at home as soon as I stepped inside with Francesca (whose sister works on the line at GT) and her friend, thanks to that gorgeous dining room. (Seriously, that restaurant is beautiful.) A lot of suits having power lunches, some Asian tourists, and the three of us scallywags sneaking away from work for this treat-yo’self-type situation.
I came ready to eat. The tasting menu, which at $65 (excluding drinks and before tax/tip), is of pretty decent value. On a broader note, a lot of fine-ass New York restaurants have really good lunch deals. More on that in later posts.
Bread. Butter. Yay.
Bread and butter to start, plus a zero-proof cocktail called the Cosmonot (pinot noir juice, grenadine, citrus). Probably a better pairing with the meats that came later, but a strong punch of tartness to kickstart the meal.
A spicy tuna tartar with heirloom tomatoes. Sweet corn and corn mousse with cherry tomatoes. A crudo with mussels, salmon roe, and cucumber broth. Light and fresh to start, alternating notes of spice, sugar, and salt.
Arctic char with corn, popcorn, and plum. This was probably my favorite dish of the meal, if not for the whimsy then for the tender fish paired in a beautiful way with that sliver of plum. This the second time I’ve been pleasantly surprised by fish and fruit (the other time: tuna and strawberry, courtesy of Arzak).
Ricotta gnocchi with beans and sugar snap peas, the ricotta melting away to a burst of springtime flavors (although it was late summer at this point). Sorry, snap peas will forever make me think spring.
Followed by a Gramercy take on ramen – eggy noodles with toasted crumbs and clams, like a Tokyo-bound linguine vongole. I’m a big fan of crunch in pasta, especially with that clam juice.
The other dish we got was cod, with artichokes.
Duck breast, nicely rendered, with cherries. Lamb with shishito peppers. Rich, marbled red meat. God bless.
A palate cleanser, something of mint and granita, perhaps cucumber.
For dessert, a trifecta of red – rice pudding with raspberry and sorbet, strawberry tart with black sesame brittle, and dark cherry cheesecake. Those strawberries were superbly sweet, and by far my favorite part of the desserts. It was nearly impossible to move at this point, so the acidity of the sorbets was helpful as a lubricant to get the rest of our food into our bellies.
We rolled ourselves oompa-loompa style out the door and back up Madison Avenue to the office for a long nap.
Gramercy Tavern (Google Maps)
42 E 20th St
New York, NY