Gramercy Tavern was opened in 1994 and is a eatery that aims to have a modern take on the “Classic American Tavern” cuisine. It is split into two sections – the Tavern and the Dining room. Whilst both menus are based around the classic American Tavern dishes, the Dining Room’s menu has more of an Asian influence (no doubt with influences from executive chef Michael Anthony’s time in Tokyo). After reading through both menus when we were still back in Sydney, we decided to make a reservation for the lunch seasonal tasting menu in the dining room.
We had the lunch seasonal tasting menu that consisted of 5 courses using produce that was in season for a very reasonable $58. First course: Arctic Char (Pear, Fennel and Yuzu); Second course: Nantucket Bay Scallops (Celery Root, Apples and Buckwheat); Third course: Halibut (Butternut Squash, Black Eyed Peas and Brussels Sprouts); Fourth Course: Roasted Duck Breast (Lentils, Parsnips, Hazelnuts and King Trumpet Mushrooms); Fifth course: Chocolate Pecan Coconut Cake or Butter Pecan Ice cream.
The Arctic Char was a fresh starter course consisting of fresh in-season vegetable produce. Michael Anthony’s Japanese influence is evident in this dish though the use of ingredients such as Yuzu.
As we move along the dishes, they get warmer and richer. Our next course was the scallops that were plump and juicy. They were served on a creamy mash-like sauce, and fresh slices of celery root and apple.
Next came the halibut dish. The halibut fish is the largest of the flatfish varieties and is from the family of the right-eye flounders. Whilst I am not usually a fan of ordering fish at a restaurant, Gramercy Tavern does the halibut justice as the white meat was cooked firm but still delicately sweet in flavour, which was enhanced by the warm flavours of the winter vegetables that were served with it.
For the final savoury course, we had the roasted duck breast. The duck breast was cooked to a perfect medium (no blood in sight whilst still maintaining redness and tenderness) and the grilled piece of king trumpet mushroom was equally tender and flavoursome. I really loved the play on texture that Gramercy Tavern had in this dish, with the tender duck meat being played against the chewier lentils and crunchy hazelnuts.
Between the duck course and the dessert came a fruity palate cleanser.
And then came the desserts! We were already thoroughly impressed by the savoury courses but we were blown away by the amazing desserts they had to offer. There was a choice between the chocolate pecan coconut cake and the butter pecan ice cream (so naturally we chose one of each). I was expecting a small scoop of butter pecan ice cream, but instead it came with a buttery flaky and nutty pastry served with the creamiest butter pecan ice cream that rested on top of a crunchy pile of buttery crushed nuts. M’s chocolate pecan coconut cake was also incredibly rich and nutty, although by this stage we were too full to finish it (I blame our lack of self-control with the warm bread loaves at the beginning).
For our month-long stay at NYC, Gramercy Tavern was “American Dining” at it’s finest for us in terms of value, food and service. Thank you to the team at Gramercy Tavern for the amazing experience!
… and yes we felt slightly stalkerish snapping a photo of Michael Anthony talking in fluent Japanese with the Japanese ambassador next to us.
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