Last night, I finally got to Gramercy Tavern. I live in NJ now, used to live in the city, and never managed to get there before. We were in the city yesterday to see Spam-A-Lot, and then to meet friends for dinner. Our first choice, was closed. It isn't even worth mentioning - it is so out of GT's league. It was just an easy choice in my friend's neighborhood.
So, they suggested GT. I was thrilled because I've heard many good reviews.
First of all, it really is a lovely, welcoming atmostphere they've created. Kind of down to earth actually. Loved all the greenery and flowers which were there in abundance. And I have to mention, that as far as bathrooms go, their ladies room may be the loveliest in the whole city! These stupid things matter to us women LOL. Real hand towels, fresh flowers, I was impressed that they carried it that far into the restrooms.
We first ordered some wine and drink. I was impressed with the wine list for the most part. Not overwhelming and certainly plenty to pick from. Unfortunately, I couldn't tell you what any of us had, because we were so busy gabbing.
I ordered the sauteed scallops with roasted beet appetizer. It's been a long time since I had a scallop cooked properly and these were perfect. My better half had the mushroom goat cheese tart with arugula and balsamic vinegar, so did my friend's wife. It was very earthy and the balsamic vinegar really added a sweetness to the dish that we couldn't at first figure out, we'd forgotten it was a main ingredient. My friend ordered the grilled baby octopus with fennel. I had a taste of that and was amazed how tender they were. I had nearly ordered it, but the fennel put me off - I'm not a lover of licorice/anise flavors in any context.
On to main courses. I ordered the bacon with spaetzle, grilled peaches and snap peas. I wasn't sure what was going to show up on my plate to be truthful - I just knew it wasn't going to be strips of bacon. I'm a believer in Emeril's motto "pork fat rules" so whatever it was I knew I'd love it. The pork (because I couldn't really call it bacon) was served in a bowl, they were chunks of meat with lots of tasty fat attached which I somehow managed not to gorge myself with. The spaetzle was a nice side to it, and the snap peas provided a needed crisp texture to offset the softness of the bacon and spaetzle and the peaches added a whole other layer of sweetness. I was very pleased.
My husband had the filet mignon, topped with a sort of red cabbage slaw (very vinegary) with a side of mashed potatos. Nice piece of meat, lacking in flavor for my tastes but I guess you were supposed to take each bite with the cabbage.
My friend had a fish dish which I believe was striped bass. I am sad to say I totally can't remember exactly how it was prepared because I forgot to ask for a taste (we were all passing our forks to one another throughout the meal - obviously we're all good friends). But he seemed quite pleased and it disappeared so I can only assume the best. His wife had an organic roast chicken, that looked perfectly cooked and smelled wonderful. She's been having some tummy issues, so was trying to stick to very basic foods (although, she certainly did seem to be drinking quite a bit of wine LOL). I didn't taste this either, only because I know what roasted chicken tastes like, and it doesn't usually differ much when done correctly.
Desert for all of us was ice cream, yesterday apparently being national ice cream day, who knew? We heard it on TV that day. My husband and I split their coffee, butterscotch, toffee sundae. We were in heaven over this, really great melding of flavors. Friend's wife had the same and refused to let her husband eat any of it LOL. But, eventually gave in. She enjoyed it so much, she then ordered a dish of 3 ice creams for all of us to taste - mint (I'm not a big mint lover so I can't say much about it other than it was apparent they'd used very fresh mint, not extract), a vanilla (nothing remarkable, the one I make from scratch at home is the same) and a buttermilk "something" (we couldn't remember) which I enjoyed because I like that tangy flavor, but the other 3 weren't too sure about it. Oh, and my friend ordered a glass of mead for all of us to try - we were all interested in what it was. Very fragrant of honey to the nose - but the flavor was somewhere between honey, wine and beer. Unusual, something you'd have to get used to.
Service was impeccable. Half the time we barely noticed them taking dishes and bringing them. Very organized. Our waitress was wonderful, full of information, really knew the wines too. The only small comment (not really even a complaint) is the portions are on the smaller size, but actually, I tend to prefer this since you don't feel obligated to stuff yourself into oblivion that way. The food isn't remarkable in that haute cusine type of way, but it is fresh, perfectly prepaired and of the highest quality ingredients and that suits me fine. Not every meal has to be a culinary adventure - sometimes you want something more recognizable and down-to-earth. I think GT bridges this nicely.
Dinner for the 4 of us was $240, plus 20% tip of course. Another pricey dinner (it was the second one for me last week - I posted about my Artisanal experience earlier) but worth it. I would go back there probably too much if we still lived here!
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