Our Own Version of the Tasting Menu at Gramercy Tavern
If you remember several weeks ago (or several posts ago), I went to Gramercy Tavern with Giulia for Restaurant Week and we received gift certificates for a future lunch. We set a date on when to return and keep perusing their website if the dining room menu changes after RW. But, they didn’t. They kept the same dishes but put in a la carte prices which defeats our purpose of trying out Gramercy Tavern’s full potential. So, we opted for the tavern room and we created our own tasting menu by splitting everything we’re going to order.
The tavern room is casual, handsome, dark wood interior and exposed wooden beams, with the splash of vibrant colors along the top of the walls surrounding this room. It reminds me of an interior of a country home but it’s classier with a touch of funk from the colors. Me like.
After we ordered, we gotten the usual salt, bread and butter. The difference between here and the dining room is that you don’t have a choice. All you get is a slice of tangy multi-grain bread. It’s tasty but I don’t mind getting that small olive roll from the dining room.
Eventually, our appetizers arrived. Did I mention we ordered three of them?
As you can tell, we went pretty heavy on the cold fatty meats – the duck terrine and foie gras torchon. The duck was delicious. I particularly loved the sweet dried figs that were nestled in the center of this terrine, as well as the pistachio and onion marmalade, which brought sweetness and buttery flavors. The foie gras was smooth and buttery, while the accompaniment of the strawberry rhubarb chutney was the surprising element. We normally think of strawberry and rhubarb as the normal pie or cobbler filling that is kind of boring to us, but they took it to another level by using mint, which made it so different yet familiar.
We balanced it out the meat-centric first courses with the amazing heirloom cauliflower. The sweet, caramelized cauliflower (on the bottom) is cooked perfectly and the toppings of the crunchy almonds, briny capers and the gentle hint of lemon made this divine. When it comes to Gramercy, this place never disappoints me with vegetables.
We moved onto our second courses, one of them are the sea scallops with baby beets and bacon. The sea scallops were wonderfully crisp on the outside and medium-rare on the inside, as they should be. The quartered baby beets and its smooth, bright magenta purée added a subtle sweet-bitterness to the dish while the bacon added a slight salty, smoky bite.
The other dish that we had as our second course was the stuffed meatballs, which the waiter said it was one of the popular dishes there. Honestly, it disappointed me. To me, this was a ginormous meatball (the size of a baseball) that’s been cooked whole, then halved and hollowed out in the center and stuffed it with a mild cheese with vegetables on the side. I liked the diced zucchini, tomatoes, and eggplant part but the meat killed my stomach since it’s so dense. Giulia and I just split the half and we asked the waiter to wrap it up and give it to her younger brother, who isn’t the adventurous type of eater.
At this point of the meal, we’re pretty stuffed but we must to move on to dessert!
I wanted the milk chocolate bacon tart since reading it reminds me of the Mo Bacon Bar in a tart form. But besides the obvious, this is a bit more sophisticated. The crisp, buttery crust meets the creamy, ganache-like milk chocolate filling. The crème fraîche cuts the sweetness and added tangy tartness to the dessert, while the top were actually smoked sea salt flakes that gave my tastebuds a salty awakening. I didn’t get the bacon but it was good.
And as you can tell, there’s more. This copper pan of the peach cobbler for two, topped with blackberry sorbet and ginger ice cream. This was what Giulia’s been longing for and I can totally understand why. The peaches were so ripe, succulent and sweet baked with some sweet-tart blackberries. The topping is not the standard streusel; it’s more like puff pastry. The ginger ice cream was velvety with an understated hit of ginger, while the blackberry sorbet was smooth and bursting with blackberry flavor. Despite of its delectable qualities (that we’re getting a foodgasm), we were struggling to finish it and getting food coma. But thankfully to my expandable stomach and an applause to Giulia for actually eating more than she normally would, we finished it.
After going through seven dishes, we felt like we’re about to burst…or at least I was since I wore a fitted dress (not a smart move for anyone who’s going to eat A LOT). We paid the check with our gift certificates given during Restaurant Week and the difference and waddled our way out.
42 East 20th Street (between Park Ave S & Broadway)
New York, NY 10003