Just returned from a fantastic few days in New York City that included a great concert, visiting great friends, eating some amazing meals, and drinking some lovely wine. The highlight: Le Bernardin. Chef Eric Ripert's 3-star seafood masterpiece in Midtown which has been at the top of my list of restaurants to visit for the past two years. This incredible meal was followed by a one-day impromptu tour of 3, 1-star restaurants from Queens, to the West Village, to the Flatiron District. Along the way, some barolo, a lot of white burgundy, and some génépi.
• 2010 Puligny de Montrachet, Le Caillerets, Domaine de Montille
• 1996 Meursault, "L'Ormeau", Boyer-Martenot
The two white burgundies that we ordered to accompany our meal were perfect complements to the entire evening. The Montille was crisp and refreshing with a beautiful nose and round mouthfeel. Just a touch of oak and supreme elegance that matched the refinement of the food. The Meursault was a super cool wine. At 20 years old, this wine had a delicious 'funk' when first poured, and more of a rusty hue. It was filled with the minerality so common to Meursault and perfectly complimented the richer courses at the end of the meal. This was a brilliant wine for the money, and the first sip was probably the best drink I had during my stay in NY.
The food was beautiful. The highlights on every dish were truly the sauces – Lemongrass Consommé; Sauce Perigord; Wild Mushroom Casserole...wow. While the entire meal was brilliant, two dishes were absolute home runs: the Langoustine and the Halibut. The Langoustine was sweet and perfectly cooked, paired with one of the most delicate and flavorful Fois Gras torchons I have ever had. It's sauce was earthy and unbelievably decadent. The halibut was beautiful, but was made almost transcendent by its mushroom sauce. The chanterelles were divine. Even better than the morels. Incredible. Following dinner, the staff was kind enough to give us a quick tour of the kitchen, even as service was winding down following our 3+ hours in the restaurant.
3 MORE STARS!
In addition to the memorable evening at Le Bernardin, I shared a delicious brunch at Casa Enrique, a One-Star Michelin restaurant in Long Island City, enjoying a delicious Huevos con mole. Later, we ventured into the city seeking Belgian beer at Vol de Nuit in the Village, followed by dinner at the original gastropub, The Spotted Pig (another star). The Spotted Pig was good, but much of the food was a bit heavy on the vinegar. Enjoyed another white burgundy with dinner, this one a Premier Cru Saint Aubin from producer Paul Pillot. Skipped desert in hopes of venturing to Eleven Madison Park for another beverage and desert, but they were post Kentucky Derby party, so we continued our walk and landed at the bar at Gramercy Tavern. How it is I have never been here is crazy! What a great place. We ordered some delicious deserts (Kumquat Upside Down Cake with Green Curry Ice Cream; Vanilla Custard Pie with Strawberry Sorbet) and shared a nice bottle of 1999 Rocche de Manzoni Barolo, Vigna Cappella di Santo Stefano (perhaps slightly tainted, but filled with the big, modern, aggressive styling of Rocche). A cab ride back to queens and a sampling of some French and Italian Génépy/Genepì ended a brilliant trip.
The Wine List (ratings on 10 point scale; "+" indicates will improve over time)
2011 Paolo Conterno, Barolo, Rive del bric
2010 Domaine de Montille, Puligny Montrachet, Le Caiilerets
1996 Boyer-Martenot, Meursault, "L'Ormeau"
1999 Rocche dei Manzoni, Barolo, Vigna Cappella di Santo Stefano