A few days before Christmas, my family came to visit me in Manhattan as a way of making sure I didn’t pass out and die from finals. Luckily, I didn’t die and my lovely parents ended up taking me to two fine, extravagant restaurants in Tribeca where I shamelessly stuffed my face: Bouley and Scalini Fedeli. In this article, I will be reviewing Bouley and I will be reviewing Scalini Fedeli very soon.
I had heard a lot about Bouley in the past, but I had never really seen the restaurant for what it is until a couple of weeks ago when I walked inside the beautiful dining room. When the hostess opened the door, it literally felt as if I was being led into an elegant cottage in the countryside of France. Manhattan seemed to be light years away even though it was just a step outside of the door.
Bouley has an elegant and luxurious ambiance that makes any guest feel as if he or she is extremely important or just very spoiled to be eating in such a fine place. My photos don’t do the atmosphere justice, but I will still post them anyway to give you a glimpse of the beautiful environment.
(The “apple-scented” foyer)
(Main Dining Room)
My parents and I were led to our table and presented with a menu full of delicious options. We could either pick and choose our own courses or choose five smaller courses with the tasting menu. Being extremely food obsessed and French, my parents and I literally took about thirty-five minutes to decide what to do. We ended up deciding that each of us would have two appetizers and one entrée because we all wanted the Roasted New York State Foie Gras with Cinnamon instead of the Foe Gras Terrine that was on the tasting menu.
I ordered the Porcini Flan with Alaska Dungeness Crab and Black Truffle Dashi, the Roasted New York State Foie Gras with Cinnamon and lastly, the special of the night: Venison Roasted in Chocolate and Coffee with black truffle Shavings served on top of white truffle pasta.
My father ordered the foie gras and the venison as well, but for his first appetizer he went for the Forager’s Treasure of Wild Mushrooms with sweet garlic, special spices, grilled Toro (the fatter underbelly of tuna) and black truffle dressing.
Lastly, my mother ordered the Organic Connecticut Farm Egg with Serrano ham, steamed polenta, artichoke, sunchoke (the Jerusalem artichoke), and coconut garlic broth as her first appetizer, the foie gras with cinnamon as her second, and the Chatham Day Boat Lobster with glazed fresh pomegranate, hibiscus, sweet turnips, organic rutabaga (the “yellow turnip:” a root vegetable which is a cross between the cabbage and the turnip) and house-made almond milk.
As we waited for our food, my father ordered a bottle of Brunello la Fiorta 2006 for the table and I decided to start the meal off with a nice glass of Diebolt Vallois rosé champagne. Bouley has a very extensive and expensive wine list that could satisfy just about anyone who likes a nice glass of wine.
(Bottle of Brunello la Fiorta 2006)
(Glass of Diebolt Vallois rosé champagne)
The wine and my champagne arrived at the table along with a complimentary starter from the chef: a cracker with Langres cheese and black truffle. A “cracker” may sound measly to you, but to be honest, this was one of the best surprises I have ever had in my life (yes, better than waking up and finding presents on Christmas morning). The cheese was strong and the black truffle was just piled on top of the cheese to compliment its flavor.
If I could eat this cracker every day for the rest of my life, I think I would.
Note: There were several other compliments of the chef throughout the meal, but since they are always changing due to what the chef has in the kitchen, I am not going to go in depth about them.
After two more compliments of the chef, our first appetizers arrived. The porcini flan was very creamy and extremely rich – almost too rich for me considering I was about to have a foie gras the size of my face twenty minutes later. However, if you are in the mood for a really rich, creamy dish with an abundance of crabmeat and truffle, this is definitely the appetizer for you.
(Porcini Flan taken with @nycdining Instagram)
My father’s wild mushrooms and Toro were very rich, yet a lot lighter than my porcini flan. He loves tuna and mushrooms, so this appetizer was perfect for him. However, I did not find the black truffle dressing to compliment the taste of the tuna. I think the dish would be perfectly fine without the tuna and with more mushrooms to enhance and flatter the buttery black truffle dressing.
(Wild Mushrooms taken with @nycdining Instagram)
The Organic Connecticut Farm Egg was my favorite out of all three of our appetizers because it was buttery, a bit rich and creamy. The coconut garlic broth made the dish perfectly creamy and complimented the taste of the artichoke. Basically, everything in this appetizer complimented each other and it was not too rich.
(Organic Connecticut Farm Egg taken with @nycdining Instagram)
As I said earlier, my parents and I all ordered the same second appetizer because we are slightly obsessed with foie gras. By slightly, I mean very much obsessed. The first point that I want to make about the three servings of Roasted New York State Foie Gras with Cinnamon that were served to us, is that they were all literally the size of my face. In more culinary terms: each foie gras lobe was basically three times the “average” size. I had very high hopes for the foie gras appetizer, and they were all met when I took a bite of the oversized goose liver. The sweet, yet bitter cinnamon complimented the rich taste of the foie gras as it melted in my mouth.
(Foie Gras with Cinnamon taken with @nycdining Instagram)
Now I will move on to our entrées. Please note that my parents and I were already stuffed by this point and regretted ordering so much food, but we were still excited for our entrées anyway.
When the Venison Roasted in Chocolate and Coffee with black truffle Shavings served on top of white truffle pasta was brought to the table, my heart started racing with excitement because I had never actually seen two beautiful truffle shavings sit on top of my own meal. These shavings were beautiful, and so was the whole dish. The presentation was striking. I mean look at it. But anyway, when I took a bite of the venison, I think I died and went to heaven for a little bit. I am a huge fan of sweet flavors complimenting meats and other rich, earthier food combinations (ie. the foie gras in cinnamon) so this was a great dish for me. The sweet sauce complimented the flavor of the venison and the black truffle was like the final (extremely decadent) “cherry” on top. What makes this dish so incredibly amazing is that there was also some white truffle pasta hiding underneath the venison to give some variety to the dish.
(Venison taken with @nycdining Instagram)
The Chatham Day Boat Lobster was also served with black truffle shavings on top, which looked beautiful with the bright red color of the lobster meat. The foamy house-made almond milk added some moisture to the dish and gave it a creamy, yet light, taste. The fresh pomegranate glaze was also very subtle and did not overpower the taste of the lobster.
(Chatham Day Boat Lobster taken with @nycdining Instagram)
My parents and I were literally filled to the brim after this meal, we could not fit another morsel of food into our stomachs. However, the waiter brought us one last compliment of the chef: White Chocolate Air. Yes, I did say white chocolate air. The white chocolate air was basically frozen white chocolate foam that was sweet, light and delicious. I wish that every restaurant served air for dessert because the calories are minimal and it doesn’t really fill you up! I know I sound stupid saying I liked my “air” but it was really good and an ingenious idea!
After we ate our air and paid the check, my parents and I got up to leave. I should have just had them roll me out of there because I felt so rotund, but I managed to suck it up and walk myself. Over all, Bouley was a very extravagant and exciting dining experience full of surprises and extremely rich foods. I also don’t recommend over indulging in two appetizers and an entrée because it can make you painfully full. Also, the menu is very pricey and extravagant which limits the amount of people who can actually dine there, which is why I have deducted half a point.
All-encompassing wine list
Delicious food selection