Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Neil's 50th at Gramercy Tavern

It's been a busy week of celebrating, the 23rd was our 22nd anniversary and the 29th was Neil's 50th. Nephew Natan joined us for dinner along with Neil's mom Sarah. Natan brought along his camera and did a wonderful job of documenting the meal. I've tried my best to put them in order, starting of course with the birthday boy.

Gramercy Tavern is a favorite place for special occassions, we've been many times over the years since it opened.

Our late friend Bridget used to work for Danny Meyer so we were always treated very well and were able to obtain hard to get reservations. Not so much these days - our reservation was for 5:30, we were 10 minutes late being seated, walked into the back main dining area and were left floating when the MaƮtre D' realized our table was already occupied. We dutifully went back to the hosting table and were finally seated in a less than ideal table on the divide between the tavern and the dining room. This made for a noisier evening then I would have liked and was problematic for the 81 year old Sarah whose hearing aids don't respond well to ambient noise. It was a bit of a three stooges start to the night. Note for self: ask to be placed in the back next time (not that we are such regular patrons, it's been at least two years since we were last there). And on this evening the back would have been worse as there was a large table with a grumpy infant. I'm sorry, but who takes a small infant to Gramercy Tavern? Bad idea.

The service was as buttoned down as always, professional and friendly. My favorite was the spot on sommelier. She was great. The food was beautiful and served with impeccable timing. The only slight complaint came from Natan who felt his fish was too salty. Indeed, I'd say that was because he is only 16 and not used to eating out where the motto of most chefs is lots of fat and salt makes everything taste better (and I admit my old worn taste buds usually agree).

It's interesting to note that for $86 per person plus extras (like wine) that 50% of the meal is sugar. There is an "amuse" dessert, the actual dessert, a small plate of mini sweets and a good bye morning muffin. Fat, Salt, Sugar OK that covers all the food groups. Not that I'm complaining! The sweets were all lovely and appropriate, after all, to a "treat me" special dinner out. I particularly liked the lemon chocolate truffles.

The dessert menu is, to my recollection, the same as it has been for years even though they have a new pastry chef. A freshening up is in order.

Ultimately Mr. Meyers really knows what he is doing. The gussied up American Tavern aesthetic of the room is luxurious, yet comfortable and looks every bit as good as it did the day it opened. The abundant and amazing flowers are the aspect that really makes it feel special.

Still one of the best places to go for a special occasion meal in NYC. Expensive, but you get a lot and the wine list is very diverse with a wine in every price range (one I think as low as $28).

Just remember to reserve early if you want to start after 6!

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