Great Soba Lunch Set at Kokage in Midtown East
I have been to so many great NY restaurants and yet somehow I had never gone to Gramercy Tavern. I am so busy going to new restaurants that I sometimes push some old restaurants to the back of my list. This place has been on my wish list for a while because I have heard so many good things about it. I was excited to take my BFF, Kim, here for an early birthday dinner. (We celebrated her group birthday at Novita the next day.) Kim and I have been BFFs for 10 years and I knew this place was on her wish list, too. We decided at the last minute to meet up so I didn’t make a reservation. When we arrived we put our name down for The Tavern. (This is the more casual bar/seating area when you first walk in.) We enjoyed a cocktail at the bar before dinner. The place was super busy and fully seated so we noticed people dining at the bar counter. (My second visit I didn’t have to wait at all when I got there around 9:00pm.)
The restaurant has two different dining rooms. One is called The Tavern which is where Kim and I had dinner. They don’t take reservations in The Tavern and you can order a la carte. The other room is called The Dining Room where you can make a reservation and they serve a course menu. Your options are a three-course menu for $92 and a tasting menu for $102 or $120.
You can see what I ate along with my heart rating for each dish. My favorite was the Fuluku Crudo for sure. The place changes their menu quite often, but on my second visit this month I was still able to order the Duck Pate and Fuluku for appetizers. I didn’t take photos of all the food I had on my second visit, but I had Maitake Mushroom Lasagne and fish for my entree. Their sweetbread reminded me of fried chicken….hehe a fancy fried chicken. It was very tender and the way they plated it was cute, but I’ve had better fried sweetbread at Pearl & Ash!
After my second visit I came up with a mini-description so you can get a clear idea of what it’s like. “New American Babbo.” Do you get it? If you have been to both places then you know what I mean! Classic New York style restaurant that lasts for a long time – A chef with a great reputation and the price is pricy, yet not too high. The atmosphere is casual elegant. Babbo is Italian cuisine by chef Mario Batali . Gramercy Tavern is New American cuisine by chef Michael Anthony. I recommend both restaurants for any classic occasion you’re planning to have. It’s also a great place to take the parents.
You all know I have my boutique Cutie Room on 5 Rivington St ( b/t Bowery St & Chrystie St ) in Lower East Side. Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream opened last month across the street from my shop!~YAY!! Officially my block is cutest block in L.E.S. :)
Cutie Room – 5 Rivington St
Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream - 2 Rivington St
Spiritual America - 5 Rivington St
Freeman’s restaurant - 8 Rivington StFreeman’s sporting club - 8 Rivington St
Freeman’s barbar shop - 8 Rivington St
Loreley - 7 Rivington St
Antonioni’s - 177 Chrystie St ( corner of Rivington St & Chrystie St )
Eleven Rivington – 11 Rivington St
Batard opened a month ago on West Broadway in Tribeca. Lately I’ve gone to many different restaurants in Tribeca such as Racines, Telepan Local, Khe-Yo, and Marc Forgeon. They are all wonderful new restaurants. (Except Marc Forgeon. It’s been around for a long time.) I came to Batard on a Friday night. I was, once again, very lucky to make my reservation just a day before.
I will start with something not wonderful about this place because after this I will be non-stop writing about how amazing this dinner was!!! Well, the decor of this place was the only reason I took a few hearts off my rating. It is a very classy and more formal atmosphere than I had imagined, however, it was nothing special. This may not be a bad thing depending on what type of atmosphere you are looking for. I’m sure they purposefully and carefully decided to go for this type of decor ( 90′s ) but I prefer something more cute. (Cutie Patroller is always on the prowl in NYC for cute places and great food.) It felt out-dated especially when they are serving such modern, new american dishes.
OK done!! Now I’m moving on to my 5 hearts rating part for the food!
Their menu is only by the course – two course for $55, three course for $65, and four course for $75. Both of us chose three courses. The waiter informed us that our option could consist of two appetizers and one entree. Which means you don’t have to choose dessert as one of the three courses. I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!! I have never seen a three course option like this before. I’m not a dessert girl so you have no idea how happy this made me! :)) After much thought my friend and I chose four appetizers and two entrees to share. I think we chose a good balance of six plates.
There are eight options for appetizers and they all sounded delicious, most of which were seafood so we chose four seafood appetizers. We decided to balance out the meal by ordering two meat dishes for our entrees.
Our first two appetizers were YELLOWFIN TUNA marinated radish, quinoa, camelina oil and SEARED OCEAN TROUT cured cucumber, spiced crème fraîche, clams. O.M.G. Both dishes were amazing!! The plating was so pretty and the portions were great. Most importantly, they tasted perfectly delish!! I give 5 hearts for both dishes.
The second two appetizers were OCTOPUS “PASTRAMI” braised ham hock, pommery mustard, new potatoes and MAINE LOBSTER green asparagus, zucchini blossom, citrus rind. They were not as great as the first two dishes, but you can see how pretty the plating was. I normally don’t order octopus because I can have octopus at any Italian restaurant (or any other place these days), but I saw a photo of it and thought it looked unique.
Our third course (and main entree) consisted of VEAL TENDERLOIN “tramezzini”, asparagus, mushrooms, sauce diable and NY STRIP LOIN OF BEEF braised cheek, cauliflower purée, baumkuchen, romanesco. Both dishes came with sauce, but you won’t see that in the photos because I have to take a picture first. I think food photos are sometimes better without sauce so they don’t look messy. I assure you that I enjoyed adding sauce to both dishes once I finished taking photos. :) At this time, I was already a little bit full since our four appetizers were such generous sizes, but I was ready to taste the veal! And how amazing that the steak was served as three different parts of beef. Both dishes were perfectly cooked at medium rare and delightful.
We probably stayed a good three hours enjoying our courses and a bottle of red wine. At the end of the meal we were served their homemade cookie, too. Oh, I forgot to mention that their bread was so good. I don’t eat bread unless it’s special and this was! Homemade salted caraway seed roll. Yum!
Overall, I give Batard 4.8 hearts which is a super high heart rating for Cutie Patroller. The last time I gave this high of a rating was my three course lunch at JUNI last month. Another minor thing, I thought they should have switched our appetizers bringing the octopus and lobster out first and the trout and tuna second. Since we were having two meats as entrees it would have been better to serve us the cooked dishes first, then the raw seafood, followed by the entrees. I think the courses would flow better that way. Listen to me!! What a snob!! But that’s my mini-thought.
The place was surprisingly not very full for a Friday night, but it was raining. I can imagine some reservations got canceled. I am highly recommending you make a reservation right now before it’s impossible to get in. I’m definitely going back to have the YELLOWFIN TUNAand SEARED OCEAN TROUT again. I’ll also be sure to try other dishes that I didn’t order this time. I go out to eat at new places every day, but not many of those places will I go back to within a few months. This place is my exception :)
PS – Mr Drew Nieporent was here during my visit. *\(^_^)/*
Many tourists want to know where the best dim sum is in NYC’s Chinatown, right!? Golden Unicorn is one of the more popular dim sum places. I sometimes go to Oriental Garden on Elizabeth and Dim Sum Go Go on East Broadway. If you’re a vegetarian, then maybe Vegetarian Dim Sum on Pell Street is the place for you. My friend, Steve, told me about Nom Wah Tea Parlor a while ago and it was on my Chinatown checklist. So, last weekend my friend and I came here to patrol. This place was on my checklist was because it is the oldest dim sum place in Chinatown NY. Guess what… since 1920!!!!!!
They are located on one of the unique streets in Chinatown called Doyers St. It is kind of a hidden street and you can enter from Pell St. or Bowery StWhen we got there, the place was pretty busy and the waiter told us there was a 10 minute wait. He then handed us a ticket. I thought the wait was not bad at all. He quickly called our number and we were seated at a table. Dim Sum is better if you come with more than four people so that you can try many different dishes. This time it was just me and a friend so, between the two of us, we shared six different dim sum plus dumpling soup. It was a perfect amount of food for the two of us. My favorite was the Shrimp Roll and Shrimp Dumpling. I always order Lotus Rice. Unfortunately, both of our rice was super stuck to the leaf and it was hard to eat, but it was still very tasty. My friend ordered egg rolls and I didn’t really care for them. Egg rolls are not my favorite. They are too oily for my taste. It’s a little pricier here than other Dim Sum places in Chinatown. I’d give it one more $ for each dish. I have no idea why, but the decor of place is American dinner style! haha! :)