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Bouley Dinner and Lunch (review)

simetrias | Feb 8, 2008 12:41 PM

Just so happens I ate there twice this week. Superbowl Sunday, I was with a group of 7 at one table, and another table of 6 in the other room from my organization. The maitre was patient as we all chatted and mixed and mingled before settling down in our assigned places. We all had the tasting menu at dinner (and at lunch today) along with some fine wines. Dinner came to $200 pp with tip; lunch was around half that.

The dinner unfolded smoothly and the coordination and timing of the courses was all correct. Only a few goofs: when they tried to pour tap water on top of sparkling, and when a waitstaff person said excuse me SIR to me (believe me, I look like no SIR!!!!), then apologized and said IT WAS THE JACKET (ahem, Armani black label, to be precise!).

I had the shrimp/scallop phyllo dish; the lobster terrine; the rack of lamb; and chocolate cake with ice cream. The first course was perhaps the most complex, with gorgeous flavors and textures. The lobster terrine was also good, if really cold to the palate. The lamb was perfect. My colleagues who had the Nebraska beef (at a HUGE supplement!) were less pleased. They found the beef too chewy and blandly seasoned. Those who got the foie gras and squab were also pleased. Desserts were to die for, and the many amuse, extra desserts, and further attentions made it over the top special.

Lunch today was great but the service was less attentive. There were plenty of big guys in suits walking around in trios (Mr. Bigs), but they rarely came over unless flagged down. They did the trick of clearing some people's plates when others hadn't finished (and we were in there after 2, so there didn't need the table). The food was fantastic again, if a bit of a repetition (same amuse, desserts, first course, etc). This time I had the tuna tartare (nice!), the skate (tiniest portion on earth, but yummy-- crispy and good), the pig with fetuccini (oh, my. that was really melt in my mouth). I tried the tea smoked ducking that my friends had, and found it charming as well.

Had to flag down a Mr. Big for the check. I left a 20% tip each time-- did I undertip? Other tables that were ordering some Big Wines from the Mr. Bigs were getting attention all over the place, but our table was left pretty much alone. Not a total problem, just.... odd.

Anyway, the food experience was wonderful, the atmosphere, very nice, and a great experience!

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