I had a good lunch at Tocqueville recently (first visit to the restaurant). Very good dining room team assistance, and food that leaves me wanting to revisit, although it's hard to tell based on one visit.
Instead of ordering the $20.03 prix fixe or the slightly higher (but still under $30) market menu, I chose a la carte:
(1) 1/2 Dozen Kumamotos (around $15)
Nice quality of oysters. Nice mignonette, with (1) rice wine vinegar utilized, and (2) diced chives and non-whole pink peppercorns on top. I liked the aggressiveness of the pink peppercorn portions in the mignonette, which was predicated on rice wine, and the diced chives in the mignonette. It was nice that the mignonette was served in a shotglass, placed adjacent to pristine Kumamotos on a spread of ice on a rectangular glass plate.
I had a glass of the Krug Grand Cuvee ($35). It's not among my preferred champagnes (Salon, Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs), but it is something I like drinking. I'd appreciate input on where, apart from Mandarin Oriental's bar and Picholine, the Krug can be had by the glass.
(2) Roasted Stuffed Quail, Bavarian "knoedle" of foie gras, truffles and frisée (22.00), with glass of Mas de Chimeres 2000, Syrah, Guilhem Darde, Languedoc ($10/glasse)
Slightly undercooked, which is an observation I do not make often. I was told, upon inquiry, that the standard cooking level was medium. I requested medium well. The result was quail which was around rare. Still, an interesting stuffing including foie gras. However, one unhelpful aspect of this dish was the excessive use of white truffle oil. Still, the quail was of an intrinsically nice quality and would have been potentially appropriate with the right cooking level. (There is a related issue, which is that I am trying to loose weight, so that I can seem thin instead of average in weight)
Nice use of significant lengths of chives (chef seems to like this ingredient, which is one of my preferred ingredients) and haricots, as well as the frisee, in the salad. Not too aggressive dressing for the salad.
(3) Cheese plate -- Valdeon, Manchego, St. Nectaire, Epoisse, with a CA Cab Sauvignon. This was a nice selection of cheeses, esp. with the Spanish blue Valdeon. Bread had raisins and dried red cherries, and was a bit sweeter than it could have been. But, overall, a nice accompaniment. Pear that had a confit-aspect, and that had red wine sentiments, was a nice touch. The pear was skin-on, and conveyed a slight bit of sugariness.
I then had the 1974 Apreval, Calvados, "Brut de Fut" ($40 or so). I would be predisposed to like any restaurant that has this by the glass, together with other Calvados by Apreval, a significant Calvados producer. Hmm, I like Calvados, although Coeur de Lions or Pere Magloire might be others in which I am interested.
Nice things about this restaurant: (1) very professional and "polished" assistance by the dining room team, (2) "homemade" butter -- I confirmed it was made at the restaurant (!), (3) description of the prices of specials to the diner, (4) description of the prices of various champagne aperatifs to the diner, (5) Christofle utensils, (6) pouring of the Krug in Spiegelau champagne glass, and (7) decor of the restaurant. This is a more mature and pleasing place than most restaurants in NY.
I plan to return to investigate :) A nice meal.