You all know I'm a fan of Tocqueville for many reasons. I need to take out groups ranging from 5 to 25 for work, and this is my go-to place, espec. for the pretheatre menu, which is the deal of the century. For RW, they put my 6 person table upstairs, which I like: private, fun, quiet (tho the noise from the main room does filter up). I asked Nick to help me with a wine selection: I was looking for a Beaune or similar, but he recommended some Vin de Pays with a Shyrah grape. Pa-toooiee. Another guest and I both rejected it as too young, too uninteresting, and flat in style. Kinda like my neighbors. NOT. Just kidding. So we went with the Beaune I had originally wanted and we were happy.
The choices were: first course, a creamless puree of squash, terrine of quinea hen, beet and goat cheese salad. Second: beef brisquet (sp) with horseradish puree and root veggies; salmon with goodies I don't remember; a veggie ravioli dish. Dessert: chocolate, some kind of bread pudding, sorbet/ice cream. Sorry not to be more descriptive.
The first courses were all excellent: everyone enjoyed. I know the beet goat cheese tower thingie is a bit of a cliche, but I never tire of it when it is well done. The beef, which most of us had, was velvety, rich, and perfectly set off by the horseradish puree. Those who had salmon said it was magnificent. Portions were small, which is how I like it. And at those prices, please. More than enough.
Dessert was delish: nothing out of the ordinary, but fine.
Service was fabulous, even tho they had to truck up and down the stairs a zillion times. Because it is such a deal, I left a 25% tip, well deserved!
So, to conclude: first-rate dining experience at trattoria prices. Don't deprive yourself. If you can't make RW, show up at 6 p.m. and have the prix fixe with wine pairings for $59. Or if money is not a problem, the full menu really is spectacular.
1 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003