Restaurant report -- Bouley

Mike and I went out on Sunday night for a really big splurge. We decided to dine at Bouley, a French restaurant owned by David Bouley. Many may argue that it is one of the finest dining destinations in NYC. David Bouley studied under some of the most revered French culinary stars like Paul Bocuse and Joel Robuchon. Strangely many online sources warned us about having to make a reservation like a month in advance. We went on and made a reservation 6 hours before our 8pm dinner. That's not exactly difficult I suppose.

The meal was really good. Both of us ordered the tasting menu (within which there are about 2-3 choices for each course). We started with chef's canape -- cubes of mozzarella cheese in cucumber gelee, topped with tomato sorbet and pesto mousse. This classic combination of flavors got a clever makeover. The added texture and temperature contrasts made it a great conversation piece, and it teased us about the coming courses. The rest of the menu reflects the spring season. The colors were bright and the flavors were light. My seafood medley of scallop, squid, and shrimp were cooked to perfection. (And each was executed separately with different cooking methods to best present each ingredient) A piece of salmon, whose skin is infused with citrus notes, was cooked to medium-rare and still tender and juicy. My Maine day lobster was succulent with sweet juices, and it came with buttery baby bok choy. My dessert was a Valrhona chocolate souffle with a molten center. Except for the fact that the souffle disrupted the lightness theme, the food was really perfect. (I should have ordered the lemon meringue that Mike had, which was heavenly)

But I can't help but feel being treated like a cash cow. The service had nothing wrong. It just felt mechanical. The head waiter came at the right moments to check with us. Each dish was presented with a monologue of its long list of ingredients. And everything was just served a nanosecond faster than being on time -- leading me to think that the entire tasting menu was mass prepared in the kitchen.


charles said…
finally, a new post!
Albertitto said…
Wow, Charles, you're a loyal reader! :-) I'm just not a writer type of guy, and consistency is not in my blood. I have lots of ideas for posting though...Let's see if I will steadily pull them out in the coming days...
erica said…
my splurge in NYC would be Morimoto, I've had Nobu but I like Morimoto better. I am also a Asia de Cuba fan :) Btw, I highly recommend Bread on 20 Spring St. for brunch, I don't usually eat bread but can't resist theirs.

next time I am in the city, I want to try Mario Batali's restaurant Del Posto that's across from Morimoto.

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