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Manhattan

Upstairs Bouley review

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Upstairs Bouley review

DC | Dec 8, 2005 08:46 AM

Went to Upstairs Bouley last night. Got there around 7, and our two-top was seated immediately. Thought it was a good table as it was in the corner of the room, farther away from the kitchen (which was very hot as we walked by). Also, as last night was pretty darn cold, the heat of the room was quite welcoming.

However, the heat didn't let up - as the room filled up and the kitchen cooked more and more, it got hotter. I would venture that it was around 85 degrees in the room - I looked around, and nearly everyone in the room had a red face, as if all had been drinking beer at a late December Giants tailgate for the last four hours.

Ordered a glass of Meursault - which wasn't a very good Meursault. First, it was served far too cold, and, secondly, it didn't have that normal floral bouquet that I associate with Meursault. For $16, a letdown.

On to the apps. But, first, I'll mention, it was really hot. Wife ordered a wild mushroom salad, which was OK - more or less just a mesculin salad on top of some shitakes. I ordered two "Japanese" items, the sea eel (which was served with some sort of braised root) was fantastic - probably the best dish of the night, while the monkfish liver was a disappointment - not the typical richness/strong sea flavor I'm used to from monkfish liver - quite bland and understated. Also, it was hot.

Ordered a bottle of Copain syrah, which at $90, is a pretty good buy for something you hardly ever see on wine lists. It was quite big and bold and tannic, begging for some food to stand up to it.

For entrees (the temperature in the room was still brutal - it actually felt like a late July afternoon in midtown, where the heat reflecting off of the buildings and sidewalks feels like it is aimed straight at your face, and is inescapable) we had a veal chop (very solid dish, cooked well - but, is this dish really any better than I would get at Landmarc?) and the roast chicken. The chicken itself was unimpressive (a bit dry and overcooked), but the parsnip puree and green beans were quite good. And, it was hot.

For desserts, we actually asked if we could be seated downstairs, in the barren market room, since we had already sweated through any layers of clothes that we hadn't already stripped off. For dessert, my wife had a white chocolate yogurt dessert that she seemed to like. I ordered the cheese plate (after seeing the cheeses in their market downstairs, I was encouraged). Unfortunately, the cheeses came out ice cold, almost frozen. In fact, I've never really had a hard version of Morbier until last night - I think I prefer the softer version (perhaps they should just take their cheeses up to the dining room - I'm sure they would thaw within minutes).

Then, we ask for the check. They forgot to include the wine - we alerted them to this fact. After about 20 minutes (that'll teach me to be honest), they brought the check with the correct amount.

We left and went outside, loving the blast of temperate nighttime December air . . .

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