NYC: Gramercy Tavern

Monday, December 17, 2012

On Day 2 of the Seven Michelin Star Restaurants in Seven Days series, we're going to be taking a look at Gramercy Tavern, a restaurant that's been presented with 1 star from the folks at the Michelin Guide.

Gramercy Tavern is located right by Gramercy Park, a historic private park that is only accessible to the people living around the park and pay an annual fee to have a key. However, despite the stuffy neighborhood that it's located in, Gramercy Tavern has a neighborhood vibe as the staff there are friendly and feels generally accessible.

Gramercy Tavern's awesome facade in a landmark building

Gramercy Tavern looks like a huge restaurant and as you walk up to the entrance, you will see floor to ceiling windows that helps the place feel open and spacious. Also, just in case you forget you're in New York, if you look out the windows across the street, you'd see a Duane Reade. :) The seats right by the window are in the Tavern bar area and feels a lot more casual than their more formal dining rooms.

A homey display in one of the dining rooms.

The entryway looking into the bar/lounge
Hop to it,  Pineapple painkiller & Imperativo, all great cocktails

A fun open kitchen concept, we walked by the front station as we were lead to our tables

We walked through 2-3 separate dining areas before we were finally seated at our table. There are two different menus that are served every night; the Tavern Menu, a menu that's a bit more affordable with its a la carte section, and the regular Dining Menu requires that you order from a 2 course menu, or their 6 course tasting menu. This night, we decided on the tasting menu.

The 6 course tasting menu

Diver Scallops Amuse Bouche

Summer Fluke with Shitake Mushrooms, Smoked Jalapeños and Roe

The first four dishes, including the amuse bouche, were all seafood-centric dishes and all were carefully plated and cooked and all the dishes tastes as good as these pictures makes it look.

Soft Shell Crab, Fresh Creamed Corn, and Pickled Green Tomatoes

Halibut, Zucchini, Black Olives and Lobster Sauce

As I was enjoying my meal, I looked around and noticed a blond lady across the table from me and thought she looked familiar. As I paid a little bit more attention, I heard her loud contagious laugh and knew it had to be Kristin Chenoweth! This was the first celebrity sighting that I've actually had after living here for 1.5 years of living here, so of course I was beyond excited.

Okay, this was the first celebrity sighting where I actually noticed who it was. I've been in the same movie with Lauren Hill and her kids, but totally didn't even notice. Needless to say, for the rest of the night, I felt a bit giddy and starstruck and embarrassingly so.

Trying to be slick and taking stalker pics of Kristin Chenoweth enjoying dinner

Enough stalking, more eating. The next two dishes were the meat dishes of the night, Squab and Veal. While my squab was perfectly cooked, I thought my veal was not so expertly prepared since a huge part of my meat still had the connective tissue connected to it.

Squab, Barley, Sungold Tomatoes and Sunchokes

Roasted and & Braised Veal, Peppers, Nectarines and Polenta

By the end of the meal, I thought everything tasted good, but the servings were on the smaller side and nothing stood out to me. The next dish was a shortbread cookie with cream and fruit which came complementary to us along with an additional dessert choice.

Shortcake Cookie with cream and Raspberry

Lemon Granita Ice with a Raspberry Sobert - Not what I was hoping for and way too tart for my taste

While I didn't make the best dessert choice, the chocolate mousse dessert was definitely a lot better and actually their complementary almond chocolate bark and truffles were outstanding!

Delicious Chocolate Mousse Dessert

Almond Chocolate Bark with Chocolate Truffles - how can you go wrong with chocolate truffles?

While I'm not usually a huge fan of Petit Fours, these were to die for and I would happily have them again!

Alright, since this is Day 2 of the Seven Michelin Star Restaurants in Seven Days series, I have to compare it to yesterday's meal at Blue Hill at Stone Farms. Overall, I feel that Blue Hill was more memorable and just blew my meal at Gramercy Tavern out of the water. The 5 tasting menu at Blue Hill is actually a bit cheaper than the 6 course meal here and for just about $30 more, you can enjoy the 8 course Blue Hill Farmer's Feast that embraces a more modernist approach in cooking. Of course, you do have to make plans in advanced and journey out of the city for the experience.

All in all, Gramercy Tavern is like the friend who can handle with any situation you throw its way. It serves delicious Contemporary American cuisine that is dependable and is definitely a crowd pleaser. Don't know if you have vegetarians in your party? They serve a vegetarian tasting menu. Looking for a last minute reservation to impress last minute guests? Hop on over to the Tavern Room that requires no reservations and try one of their many delicious cocktails. Not sure what to wear?  The ambiance is casual enough that you won't feel too bad for not dressing up, yet formal enough so that if you were looking to celebrate a special occasion, you will feel that it's a special experience. And hey, if you're lucky, you might have a celebrity sighting too, if you're into that kind of thing.

Gramercy Tavern | Yelp

42 E 20th St
(between Broadway & S Park Ave)
New York, NY 10003

(212) 477-0777
Restaurant Information

* Restaurant Name
Gramercy Tavern
* Overall
★★★☆ ☆
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
Flatiron / American New
* Street Address
42 East 20th St., New York, NY 10003
* Phone
(212) 477-0777

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