Finding a quick escape from Washington’s tourists, protestors, and policy, I brought myself to Daniel Boulud’s self-titled restaurant on the upper east side of New York. Since moving from the upper west side in 1993, the restaurant has been collecting patrons just as fast as it is collecting awards. Redesigned and opened in its present location in 2008, the restaurant showcases impressive neo-classical architecture by designer Adam D. Tihany, bringing together the best of the old and the new.
Quickly after opening, the restaurant was rated one of the top ten restaurants in the world by the International Herald Tribune. Chef Boulud was named Chef of the Year by Bon Appétit, and Daniel received Gourmet’s Top Table Award, a four-star rating from the New York Times, Wine Spectator’s Grand Award, and New York City’s top ratings for cuisine, service and decor in the Zagat Survey.
Service is comfortable, but professionally tailored as if one were being ushered into a candle lit playhouse. To that, each course becomes an anticipated new act. Tastings of poached baby shrimp with minted pea coulis, asparagus and yellow pea shoot open the senses and were delightfully presented.
Before I progress beyond the menu, the cocktails must be addressed. Xavier Harit, is the Principal Bartender at Daniel and has been revolutionizing mixology since the age of 16, where he finished school and quickly became #1 bartender in Europe at the Hotel Plaza Athenee. Impassioned but respectful, he has created an exciting cocktail menu consisting of memorable libations. From a champagne mojito to the redesign of the classic Cosmo (Magenta Dendrobium orchid encased in an ice orb, Vodka, St. Germain Elderflower Liquor, Lime Juice, White Cranberry Juice), this menu will leave patrons with amused gratification.
A personal favorite, aptly named “the Revolutionary,” dresses bourbon with White Crème de Menthe, White Crème de Cacao & Absynthe. You will see in the video presented that a strawberry margarita is deconstructed and rebuilt with Cointreau beads. Amazing.
Appetizers of hazelnut crusted Maine sea scallops and artichoke ravioli in a saffron sauce kept me speechless as offerings of artisan bread were offered. The main course was duck breast finished with watermelon radish and a bigarrade sauce (port, demi-glaze, and orange) and yellowfin tuna with Hawaiian hearts of palm were marvelous.
A strong menu presented by Chef Jean Fracois Bruel was a celestial delight and the desserts that followed were just as symphonious. Pastry Chef Dominique Ansel provides a sweet international tour of exotic flavors. From a dessert using Rwandan coffee cream and another using lychee and candied rose petal and petit fours consisting of pistachio molleux nougat and another of red wine agar peals, there appeared to be no ending as new tastes were continually offered.
If you want to have a great experience dining in New York, I insist that you spend it at Restaurant Daniel.
60 East 65th Street
New York, New York 10065