A symphony of (Michelin) stars

Yo-Yo Ma is playing Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major (Prélude). I walk into a room that radiates style and substance. It was only when I sat down did I realise that there was no music in the background. The goose bumps on my arms – the room did that all by itself. I am at Daniel, one of New York’s most revered restaurants and my first ever three star Michelin adventure.

An ordinary danger of a “party for one” (as they say in the US) is that ‘the one’ is more often than not settled into a corner. Not tonight. I spent the most electric evening in the company of great food, excellent service, and had the best seat in the house.

I am in New York; the city that demands single women order a Cosmopolitan. But the latest Sex And The City movie has left me disgusted and I could not bring myself to pay tribute to the TV series. The White Cosmopolitan (Vodka, Elderflower Liquor, Lime Juice, White Cranberries) at $19 is a delicious compromise. Its served in a martini glass with a giant ice cube decorated with frozen orchids. The show has definitely begun.

I opted for the 3-course Prix Fixe menu ($105). The sommelier helped me choose two reds that would be perfect with the scallops and beef I ordered. I started with the Louis Jadot Beaune, 1er Cru, 1999 ($25) and went on to the Californian Ridge Santa Cruz Mountain Estate ($25). Both wines were completely luscious.

I am not sure if it was cleavage or charisma but something worked and what followed (instead of standard 3 courses) was a symphony of “with compliments of the chef”. I am no food critic and I would much rather eat the meal than describe the ingredients but I have to make an exception this time. Here is what I was served:

–          Amuse Bouche 1: A trio of beet including roasted yellow beet and beet cured octopus

–          Amuse Bouche 2: Clams with horseradish and pineapple

–          Amuse Bouche 3: Crab salad with Persian cucumbers and sesame coulis

–          First Course: Hazelnut crusted scallops with morels, Swiss chard & pink peppercorns

–          Amuse Bouche 4:  Sesame crusted cod with asparagus tempura

–          Second Course: Duo of Beef: Black Angus Short Ribs and Wagyu Tenderloin

–          Third Course: A selection of 5 cheeses included my favourite  Époisses de Bourgogne

–          Surprise Dessert 1: a strawberry soup with strawberry sorbet and strawberries

–          Surprise Dessert 2: freshly baked madeleines

–          Surprise Dessert 3: a selection of 6 gorgeous petit fours including a pistachio macaron

And as a bonus, my request to meet the chef was rewarded with a tour of the kitchen. Oh the joy!!! Even though patron Chef Daniel Boulud was in the house, the five minutes I spent with Executive Chef Jean Francois Bruel were far more inspiring than the several minutes Chef Daniel spent at all the important tables.

For several reasons, starting with holiday remorse, I had to force myself to go out this evening. There is much to be said about working from the inside out. Tonight, I had to work from the outside in and discovered that it works just as well. So go on, be your best sexy and watch the world smile for you.


Daniel on Urbanspoon


Filed under French, Michelin meal, New York, Restaurant, Tasting menu

5 responses to “A symphony of (Michelin) stars

  1. Sara

    Sounds as though you’re doing just fine in NY on your own!

  2. Sheena

    Pooja, have just consumed all your blogs in one delicious sitting. Your soul-baring vulnerability and constant quest for the delectable make a heart warming combination!
    Keep writing, keep sharing, keep going! I think it is definitely a book in the making!!!

  3. Great read. All the right notes are struck for me, as a foody, as a writer, and as an aider-of-moving-on-in-life kind of counsellor 🙂
    Look forward to more. Usually the michelin lot leave me a bit cold – but you warmed up the place with your take on it all. And to mention names (of ingredients as well as chefs) without sounding gosh-golly name-droppy is an achievement too.

  4. Magpie

    Sounds like you were treated like a princess, and why not? I’ve never been tempted to eat at Daniel but maybe now I will…

  5. Pingback: The last one | Table for ONE

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