Tasting Lunch at Gramercy Tavern

Eaten back on September 2nd, 2009. (I’m working on it…)

Dining room Dining Room Interior

I have to admit, if I haven’t said it yet, I love Gramercy Tavern. It has the casual, down-home earthiness yet it’s innovative of what one would expect from fancy pants fare. The service is great, as expected from a Danny Meyer institution, and I absolutely love their food. They haven’t steered me wrong from the multiple times I’ve eaten here and ever since Executive Chef Michael Anthony helmed the kitchen.

I went to their dining room for the tasting lunch. Back when I ate here (on September 2nd) and when it was Restaurant Week (about a month or so) not a whole lot changed in terms of the menu, I requested a few changes on the courses.

Lemon, fennel custard with huckleberry

The amuse was a small custard of fennel, lemon and a wee huckleberry to top it off. Smooth, creamy, and incredibly robust flavors from this pre-app.

Egg crêpe with crab
Egg crêpe

As for the first course, it’s supposed to be a calamari and carrot salad. I tried this last year for Restaurant Week and it didn’t work for me. My waiter didn’t have an issue for me to replace it with the egg crêpe, corn, tomato and Maine crab. This reminds me of an upside down, open faced ravioli. The crab was incredibly sweet and savory at the same time (with the aide of herbs). The crêpe was quite al dente.

Green Beans, Shrimp and Cucumber
Green Beans, Shrimp & Cucumber

Second course was the green beans, shrimp & cucumber. Sweet, tender shrimp with refreshing cucumbers and crisp green beans. It’s not as amazing as the dish I had last time but it’s good (the sugar snap peas had my heart back then). The interesting flavor was the tiny addition of celery that made it more refreshing.

Halibut, Green Beans, Wild Rice and American Caviar

Moving onto the Halibut, Green Beans, Wild Rice and American Caviar dish. The halibut was meaty and firm and was a good vehicle for the nutty wild rice and little salty specks of caviar.

Guinea Hen, Heirloom Cauliflower and House Cured Pancetta
Guinea Hen

Heading toward the end final dishes of this tasting, the Guinea hen with heirloom cauliflower and house cured pancetta rocked. I love the hen’s crispy skin. It reminded me of Chinese roasted duck skin but has a lovely layer of silky subcutaneous fat underneath. I like the pairing of the tangy onion and caper relish that’s dotted with pancetta with this hen. Wow.

Watermelon and cantaloupe balls with shiso syrup
Dessert Amuse

Even though I felt like my stomach was feeling like it’s about to explode, I mentally push myself to make some space for dessert. The dessert amuse was a simple, small serving (in a huge bowl, nevertheless) of balls of watermelon and cantaloupe drizzled with shiso syrup. (In case you never tasted shiso before, it tastes sort of like mint and basil.) It’s a good palate cleanser.

When the dessert options for the tasting menu were disclosed to me – an apricot frangipane or chocolate mousse – neither appealed to me (sounded a bit too safe for my taste) and I requested the dessert menu. I spotted the blueberry corn sundae and ordered it. It’s an odd combination, tempting me to try it.

Blueberry corn sundae
The awesome sundae

This sundae was indeed amazing. On the bottom of the glass, frozen blueberries and corn kernels then layered with scoops of corn ice cream, whipped cream and topped with caramel popcorn. It’s a mixture of sweet, tart, somewhat creamy and ended with the airy, crispness of the popcorn.

I wish I could eat this sundae for everyday when corn and blueberries are still in season.


The little cake on the side is a corn cake (I’d call it) that’s filled with corn kernels and sprinkled with sugar crystals to gently enhance the corn’s sweetness. It’s almost as awesome as the sundae.

Petit Fours
Petit Fours

Then petit fours were served. The mini lemon tarts with sesame seeds (and some kind of herb) were tart and tasty. The white chocolate macaron had too much cookie, too little filling, and a bit too chewy, unfortunately. The chocolate truffle with a candied orange zest was a good, dark, chocolate bite.

At the end of the meal, I was a happy and full little person. Except, I have to get my mind back to reality and needed to haul my ass back to work.

Gramercy Tavern

42 E 20th Street
New York, NY 10003 (website; map)


I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.

  1. dbdtron says:

    Hey TWE!

    It’s funny I just went to GT yesterday. Went a la carte, but had both the crab crepe dish and halibut–it’s funny, but I don’t remember seeing any caviar on mine, which may account for the protein having to little seasoning. Anyhow, the rice underneath was awesome. My friend opted for the pork croquette, which was amazing. The gingerbread cake was pretty durn good, esp with the cream cheese ice cream.

    Cheers and great pics!

  2. nyker says:

    **Comment modified**

    Hi Tina,
    I LOVE your pictures and reviews:-) I’ve never done RW but i’m hoping to do so this winter. GT is my first choice. I’ve never dined at any fancy places in ny because i simply can’t afford to & also these fru-fru places are kinda intimidating but i’m taking the plunge after all your lovely reviews.

Comments are closed.