My wife and I went to Toqueville last night in anticipation of my upcoming birthday. I will be tied up at work on the actual day so we celebrated early. The first thing I noticed after being handed the menu was that the prices were outrageous. Toqueville is marketed as an upscale American bistro. Of about ten appetizers, only two were under $16 and several were above $20. For entrees the the increasingly common theme of $30+ entrees were in evidence. There is a reason for this type of pricing and I will get into that later.
We started with an amuse bouche compliments of the chef. It was a foie gras mousse with some sort of sauce drizzled on the side. The mouyse was tasty, but the sauce had obviously been sitting on the plate for a while since it was congealed. For appetizers we had the mushroom and sweet peas risotto and the roasted quail. Both were very tasty. The peas added a lot to the risotto and I'll have to remember to put them in the next time we make risotto at home.
For entrees, we had the roast chicken with greenmarket vegetables and the "60 second steak". The chicken was quite tasty and I wish that I could get that crispy skin to work when I roast chicken. I wonder if I have to throw it into the broiler for a minute to finish the dish. The steak was very tasty, but if you are adverse to rare meat you would hate this dish! The dish is called "60 second steak" on the menu and they must mean it literally. They sear the steak on one side for sixty seconds and then serve it to you. The seared side is has a nice bit of crispy crust, however the other side is literally uncooked. It was pretty good, but I would have preferred if the cooked it on both sides for 45 seconds. The crispy crust is what I like!
We had a 99 Dardo & Ribo (sic?) St. Joeseph with dinner. The wine list was very pricey. However the high up you went the better the pricing. Still I didn't want to spend $100+ on a bottle. I don't like choosing a wine based on price. There were only a 2-3 wines under $40 and maybe a few more under $50. The wine was very tight on the initial pour but after a bit of swirling opened up to reveal a tremendous amount of brett. I have a pretty high tolerance for brett and this stuff really pushed the envelope for me. Can you send a wine back after having a glass because it has excessive brett? Maybe the wine was supposed to taste like that. Either way, it was better with food, but I still woin't order it again. It's too bad since it was imported by Vineyard Expressions. The are a small importer of traditionally made wines from France. I've enjoyed evey wine I've had from them until this one.
Toqueville needs to do away with some of the high priced garnishes that raise the cost of each appetizer and entree. Almost evvery appetizer had either foie gras or some sort of truffle preparation. Also, there was a quail egg in both my appetizer and entree. While both quail eggs were delicious, they didn't really add to the dish except in cost. It should be noted that the place was doing a nice business on Tuesday, so maybe I'm off base. Without dessert, this dinner was $170 with tip. I believe that I could do much better for that kind of money and enjoy dessert at many other restaurants in NYC. I'm glad we went to Toqueville since I have been very curious about it since it opened and the reviews have all been good. However, after my meal there I'm not inclined to return.