Wednesday, December 1, 2010


After a very long hiatus (I know, I really have not been as good at keeping up this blog as I should have been. My apologies to all readers), Ari and I went to a magical place that I knew I had to write about. Restaurant Daniel is one of four restaurants in New York City that boasts three Michelin Stars -- certainly no easy feat. We had the inspired idea to go there last Wednesday to celebrate my birthday, and I think that it may have been the most incredible meal I have ever had.
The dining room itself is lovely, adorned with paintings on the walls and designed so that each diner can see all of the others. It reminded me more of a ballroom than a restaurant. The staff was so considerate, polite, and wonderful it felt like being in a dream. For dinner, you have three options to choose from: three courses, six courses, or eight courses. We chose the three course with wine pairings, and I was still so full by the end I couldn't finish the desserts (which is saying something).
Our first course was an artichoke velouté, perfectly complemented with roasted chanterelle mushrooms. This was followed by a single scallop with broccoli tempura and fava bean purée. I then had the duck terrine with pistachios and apple gelée, which was so creamy and delicious I immediately wanted more. Ari had a trio of Spanish mackerel, which was served warm with carrot purée, sashimi-style with caviar, and white-wine poached. My favorite was the sashimi, which was incredibly fresh and light. We then got our main courses, mine a perfect and flaky Black Sea Bass with Syrah sauce and leek-potato , and Ari had a leg of rabbit with bacon, truffles, and foie gras (if you can believe it). The bass may have been the best fish I have ever had, and the rabbit was very lovely as well, roasted until it fell off the bone.
The desserts that followed were just as impressive. I ordered a warm chocolate coulant (similar to a chocolate lava cake) with warm caramel and milk sorbet. Ari got a carmelized hazelnut sablé with dulce de leche and horchata ice cream, which was my favorite. Because it was my birthday, they also sent a gingerbread cae with poached pears, perfect for November. These were followed by warm madeleines (perfect) and tiny chocolate truffles.
The wine pairings were also wonderful and a good idea for a couple of novices. Restaurant Daniel's wine list looks more likea novel and boasts several bottles upwards of $1000, so this option allowed us each to try several wines without having to wade through the endless names of vineyards. My favorite was a 2008 Resiling from J.J. Prüm which accompanied the duck terrine. Ari also had a very nice dessert wine from Hungary's Château Pajzos called Tokaji Aszú.
For a girl from the midwest who eats rather more simply most of the time, Restaurant Daniel was like something out of a dream. I would highly reccommend it to anyone who is looking for a way to celebrate a very special occasion, and though it is certainly not cheap, I think that it was well worth the money for such an incredible evening. I feel so lucky to have been able to have experienced such an amazing restaurant, and I can only hope that there will be more Michelin stars in my future. Though I may have to wait another 23 years.

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