Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Pre-Fixe Lunch at Bouley

So I promised Kim that I would write a review of my lunch pre-fixe experience at Bouley last Friday.

I had heard that they were known for phenomenal desserts (apparently their bleu cheese ice cream is a thing of wonder). So I was warned not to be too disappointed by the savory dishes as the desserts are truly the stars of the meal.

To start here's what was on the menu


Chef’s Canapé

Seared Swordfish with Lemon, Garlic Root SaladCaper-Shallot Dressing
Tender Maine Baby Skate with Gently Cooked Mushroom RagoûtMushroom Reduction

Seared Chatham Cod with Peeky-Toe Crabmeat, Fresh Horseradish Fingerling Potato and Chive Sauce
Pennsylvania All Natural Chicken Baked in Buttermilk with Seasonal Rapini,Roasted Maitake

Chilled Concord Grape Soup with Candied GingerFromage Blanc Sorbet

Warm Pineapple Meringue with Pistachio CakeTen Exotic Fruit Sorbet and Pistachio Ice Cream
Hot Valrhona Chocolate Soufflé

I won't go into too much detail but basically I was surprised at how good the main dishes were. I had the swordfish and the cod. I liked the swordfish better because the sauce was nice and light and had a good tartness to it. It didn't seem to be that complicated of a dish: it was just the freshness of everything that made it something different. The cod itself was pretty average but the peeky-toe crab tucked underneath was so freakin' good. It was really sweet and soft - I would have been happy with just a bowl of that crab meat in the refreshing green sauce.

The worst thing was the chef's canape. Some nasty combination of beet and raspberry soup with goat cheese mousse and a leek foam. Pretty to look at but looks don't mean a thing. Just not pleasant at all to the point that I almost gagged...and this has nothing to do with me not liking the individual ingredients themselves. I actually love beets and goat cheese and raspberries. But together? Not something I want to experience again.

Desserts were good. (although there were substitutions on the day I went). We had a tangerine sorbet in a blood orange soup with grapefruit segments.

The room itself was beautiful, the service not as perfect as I would have expected for such a pricey place. (For example, a small complimentary dessert of white chocolate mousse with green tea gelee came in the middle of our main dessert. The waiter just put it on our table to the side. I felt like that should have been handled better. They should have returned to the kitchen with it and brought it out as a separate course - as it was done for the table next to us. The timing was not right.) Also, they weren't as friendly as I was expecting. No farewell from the hostess while we were leaving and just a little snobby/frigid.

Anyway, it was overall a decent experience but maybe next time I will try Jean-Georges.

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