I have been going to Bouley since he was in his former location. Meals there were always exquisite, coaxing wonderful flavors from prime ingredients.
The room was beautiful, with gorgeous fresh flowers.
Then he moved to his current location and underwent several reincarnations as ‘bakery’, then restaurant.
We went quite a few times for the prix fixe lunch which was still outstanding and a very good deal. The service was attentive and not obtrusive. Wine by the glass was very well selected.
So we went for the BF’s birthday last night. We were seated in the ‘white’ room which now has taken on the look of a whore house with pillows and oversized, tasseled lamps and vases, way too big for the wilting flower arrangements. The arrangement on the table was on its last legs.
The food. The amuse was a green apple aspic with a Roquefort foam. The gelee was so acrid and tasteless that the foam was a relief, not a compliment. We had the four course tasting menu.
I had the Phyllo Crusted Florida Shrimp. The seafood had been seared over such high heat that all I could taste was gas. This was not “breath of the wok” time. The broth had no herbal and no ocean in it and I thought of the days when I used to swoon moping up the broth with my bread. The BF had the Sashimi Quality Tuna, which was okay, nothing special.
I then had the Line-Caught Chatham Cod which was over cooked and again tasted of gas. It fell apart when I stuck my fork in it. The nage, which was supposed to have black truffle in it, was tasteless. My partner had the Return from Chiang Mai which was very good, albeit too cold.
Then to the mains. I had rack of lamb. One chop with an over cooked loin. Nice, again, nothing special. BF had Squab and Foie Gras which he said was ‘acceptable’.
Oh and the potatoes. We were half way through our main when we looked at each other and asked, where are those mashed potatoes? The arrived and were almost tasteless, heavy and gluey. Not those ethereal butter clouds that I remember.
Desert for both of us was the Hot Valrhona Chocolate Soufflé. In the past this had been my favorite desert. This time the soufflé had no structure and was mostly molten chocolate. The ice creams, which used to be outstanding were tasteless overwhelmed by all the chocolate goo. Desert was accompanied by a very nice passion fruit sorbet and petit fours, all coming at the same time.
The wine list was outrageously priced. We had a very nice Meursault for $150.00. I started with a glass of Greuner Veltliner, which in days of old had been wonderful. This one was sour, no depth.
Service was just okay. No one asked us how our meal was. They gave us another bottle of sparkling water without asking. Dinner was almost $500.00 including tax and tip. I felt totally ripped off. Not going there again. Oh, and the crowd was not very attractive. The BF’s fault for having a birthday on a Saturday.