As long as you might have learned by now, my dear readers, Gramercy Tavern is my perennial favorite restaurant in New York City. Besides the fact it’s consistently a 1* Michelin restaurant and firmly believes in serving seasonal food philosophy and as local as possible, the food (both sweet and savory) is incredibly delicious, service was approachable yet professional, and it feels rustically refined here.
We went to there for the eve of New Year’s Eve just to celebrate without the crazy hubbub of crowds. Except that was the Platonic ideal. Many diners packed in but it makes for a festive feel.
We started with an incredible flatbread ($14) topped with gooey cheese, chunks of hearty braised lamb, electric bursts of spicy acidity of the pickled peppers and the crispy potatoes to make it substantial.
The stracciatella, mushrooms, sweet potatoes and almonds ($12) was a vegetarian offering but it’s still very satisfying and hearty. The creamy, mild cheese with the earthy mushrooms and roasted sweet potatoes and crunchiness of the almonds.
The main course of duck confit, Emmer, Asian pear and broccoli ($24) was fantastic. Hearty, luscious yet crisp skinned duck leg. Bits of crunchiness from the broccoli and delicate sweetness and nutty pear and the Emmer wheat.
The jerk pork chop ($24) was a wonderfully not too spicy, juicy pork chop. The earthy sweet potato, tart and creamy yogurt and sweet-bitter kale made this an interesting dish.
Executive Chef Pastry Chef Miro Uskokovic is one of the several pastry chefs I admire in New York City. He manages to use seasonal produce, even root vegetables since it is the dead of winter, and make it so tasty by incorporating some unsuspecting herbs or spices.
Miro treated us to a preview of a New Year’s Eve dessert serving us a quenelle of creamy purple sweet potato ice cream, curry white chocolate “rocks”, cranberry and toasted meringue chip. The not too sweet ice cream melded well with the subtly curried white chocolate that also added some texture. The drops of tart cranberry gel made it interesting and the toasted meringue chip added some crunch and an element of smoky to make you think about winter.
Our first real round of desserts were the chocolate pecan tart ($12), chocolate trifle layered with banana, hazelnut, caramel and passion fruit meringue ($11), and chestnut puff pastry with cranberry sorbet ($12). The warm, buttery, slightly gooey, chocolate pecan tart was brushed with bourbon before serving. Comforting and edging decadent. The trifle was my dining companion’s favorite. Expertly layered trifle of all things silky and creamy but a slight undertone of bright acidity from the passion fruit and crunchiness of hazelnut crumble. The chestnut puff pastry was my favorite. Flaky, brûléed buttery pastry meets the wonderful chestnut cream and tart cranberry.
As for our second round of desserts, we had our own scoop of hickory ice cream with a side of a warm, miniature chocolate chip cookie and an orange custard pie for two ($16). The hickory ice cream was incredible. The hickory smoke was expressed nicely on this creamy canvas. The smoke flavor lingers on your palate for a couple of seconds and it works very well with the bittersweet chocolate chip cookie.
The orange custard pie is what you would think for English mincemeat pie. A thick, sweet butter crust to hold up the hearty, spiced filling of brandied dried fruits brightened with the hauntingly floral clementine, topped with the baked creamy orange custard top topped with a star-shaped shortbread cookie.
To view more photos of this dinner, please CLICK HERE or view the gallery below:[alpine-phototile-for-flickr src=”set” uid=”26389565@N00″ sid=”72157649839964487″ imgl=”flickr” shuffle=”1″ style=”gallery” row=”4″ grwidth=”1200″ grheight=”800″ size=”640″ num=”30″ shadow=”1″ border=”1″ align=”center” max=”100″]
42 East 20th Street (between Park Ave S & Broadway)
New York, NY 10003
Telephone: (212) 477-0777