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My first reaction was a concern for persons who observe certain of the kosher rules, but there's a yogurt item and ice cream toward the end.

I'm pretty sure that if someone was concerned with observing kosher rules they wouldn't be eating langoustine with or without dairy. Langoustine are prawn and not kosher.

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I'm pretty sure that if someone was concerned with observing kosher rules they wouldn't be eating langoustine with or without dairy. Langoustine are prawn and not kosher.

What if you cooked them with kosher salt? :raz:

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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You would, I assume, unkosher the salt. :biggrin:

May I also suggest that if langoustines were kosher, they'd be fish not meat and thus quite acceptably cooked with milk or cheese in that regard. I suspect it's just a case of another menu scribe reaching into the boiling pot of modifiers and coming up with one.

I rather like the réglise (réglisse in France) glaze on the warm pears. Perhaps just as it's pig on the farm and pork on the table, it's liquorice in the penny candy and réglisse in the restaurant.

It is all a game isn't it.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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  • 1 month later...

Thinking about going to Bouley for their Pre-fixe lunch. Other than the shrimp appetizer as a must, are there any other suggestions regarding the choices? I read the string but couldn't figure out if there was a concensus on the chocolate souflee.

Edited by tanyahsu (log)
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I went to Bouley last January for a tasting menu dinner.

Everything was off, the only memorable dish was the complementary dish from the Chef in btwn the entrees.

The entrees were just okay, but not satisfying at all, considering Bouley is one of the best Chefs in NYC. And yes, I have been to Daniel, Jean Georges, Four Seasons, Le Bernadin, Cafe Boulud, DB, Cafe Nougatine, Peter Luger, Oceana and Babbo many many times, so I know exactly how haute cousine should taste like.

I hope it was his off night, I probably would give Chef Bouley another chance though.

The souffle especially, was very ordinary. I've had better souffles at the Four Seasons

Edited by yummee (log)
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I have had more luck at lunch than dinner at Bouley. Two times when I went for dinner, (once the chef's menu), everything was only ok. Nothing bad, just not very good. On the other hand, the lunch I had there (45 prix fix) was an excellent.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bouley last night with a few of the usual suspects.

Amuse: Tuna tartare with cucumber and something creamy, tuna tartare and something else in a miniature taco. FMJD.

1a: Phyllo crusted shrimp, baby squid, scallop, crab in a broth. Vivid green broth, exquisitely fresh seafood grilled, fried, steamed. Second FMJD.

1b: Rouget with potato crust and saffron and bean sprout risotto. The risotto was minimal and an integral part of the dish rather than a stodge accompaniment. My J was already on the floor otherwise it might have D'd further.

2a: Halibut with cauliflower couscous and oscetra. Again 'couscous' sounds as if this is going to be heavy. Instead it provided a pleasantly lush coating for the fish.

2b: Roast sea bass in scallop crust with asparagus, salsify, jasmine rice with sauce bouillabaisse and vanilla. Sounds like a disaster but not. I don't think it would be possible to detect the vanilla if you didn't know it was there. The scallop was supernumerary. The starch again provided a nice textural counterpoint.

3a: Lobster, bok choy, mango, papaya with vanilla. Another disaster waiting to happen but tremendous. The fruit too sparse to overwhelm with sweetness.

3b: Squab in cabbage with foie. Herbed potato puree. Banyuls sauce. Maybe a little blahish, or maybe I was becoming jaded. Still very good.

At this point my memory gets hazy and we started getting things not on the menu, but I'll soldier on.

4a: Blood orange soup, yoghurt sorbet, pineapple chip. Fine. Y loved it.

4b: A bunch of sorbets. See 4a.

5: A sort of sundae with pureed banana and coffee. I liked it. Y didn't.

6: Chocolate soufflé with a bunch of icy things. Too much for me, though I ate it. Best dessert for Y.

Nice bottle of Sancerre. Not so nice bottle of something red. Others can provide details.

Reading the menu I was not looking forward to this. Too many components. But every combination worked. Every course was at least very good*, both mine and Y's. Overall the most satisfying meal I?ve had in a long time.

Efficient but weird service. All but the barman seem to have had lobotomies. He was just Very Angry. Is it policy that they all dress badly?

Restaurant half empty by 10pm.

$150 a head all in. A bargain.

*Desserts were a mixed bag but they're only desserts so they don't count.

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Banyuls is a red sweet fortified wine. It's produced in the far southwestern corner of Catalonian France, right over the Spanish border . People who like chocolate say it's the perfect match.

Edit: By the way, if you ever want to visit Banyuls, there are two towns in France named Banyuls. One is by the ocean and one is on top of a hill. The wine is made in the one by the ocean, I went to the one on top of a hill by mistake.

Edited by guajolote (log)
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Pan - Someone named Dr. Parce makes the most famous Banyuls. It is also the wine they serve at the restaurant Lucas-Carton with their famoius Canard Apicius dish, which is boiled in an herb broth and then roasted in sweet and sour spices with honey.

Glyn - I used to eat at Bouley Bakery quite a lot. The cuisine you described doesn't sound that different from what he used to serve bck thn, especially the phyllu crusted shrimp. Thoguh your meal sounded good, I've been waiting for a reason to go back there but you haven't given me one. Glas you enjoyed your meal though.

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First, a few additions. Another meat entree was sampled - the suckling pig. Several cuts, including a tiny chop, neatly presented; no crackling, no offal or sausage. Sauced with a demi-glace that bordered on gluey. I enjoy a good tour around a pig, but this dish was significantly less interesting and tasty than a (non-suckling) pig recently sampled at JUdson Grill. A bit anti-climactic for someone who was looking forward to meat.

The sundae GJ mentioned offered layers of banana cream, coffee and ice cream; the coffee element was strongly flavored, and pleasantly gritty. It was my favorite dessert. There was also an alternative to the miniature chocolate souffle - namely an orange tart, again with various icy things. As it was the third chilly dessert in a row, my tastebuds had given up. Worth mentioning the good bread; crisp sourdough rolls, and then many slices of walnut bread. The red wine was a young Chinon, and I thought it was everything one could expect from such; light, flinty, quaffable. The mood of the table was against a heavier red. I noticed quite a lot of bottles priced under $60, although the list of cabernets was weighted towards the $300 mark. In any case, our modest wine choices led to excellent value for the evening overall. Pre-dinner glasses of wine were obtained from the Furious Man in the bar; his temper perhaps not improved by our firm rejection of the house's only champagne by the glass. Duc de Sacy? I don't know it, but it was sweet and soapy.

The decor has radically changed since the Bouley Bakery days. With the interestingly curved ceiling, rich red furnishings and curtains, and ersatz candelabras, we have a creditable imitation of the kind of eighteenth century chateau-style decor found in regional French restaurants; a copy of a copy, as it were, but I thought it was appealing. There wasn't space for an extra toothpick on the table for six, though. From memory, I thought the dishes had more components than equivalent dishes at the Bakery, but I may be wrong.

We took the tasting menu, which at $75 worked out less expensive than ordering a la carte (as I have observed before, it is a myth that ordering a tasting menu automatically identifies you as a big spender; it depends). The main drawback for me was that I found it unbalanced. Three fairly light savory courses followed by three quite substantial desserts (two being unlisted pre-desserts) may suit some palates, but not mine. Since the meat dish was of limited appeal, this wasn't the best meal for me. I found the rouget pleasant, rather than jaw-dropping, but thought the sea bass bland. I completely missed any scallop element; it was a soft rectangle of white fish, with no assertive flavoring.

I would go again, but I would order from the carte. I might even request no pre-desserts. Was there any cheese, I wonder?

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I thought the meal was excellent in places: phyllo crusted shrimp (stolen from G.), halibut with cauliflower couscous and caviar(stolen), the lobster--fantastic, orange soup--sublime, Chocolate soufflé (and I'm no chocolate fan).

Less memorable were: Rouget with potato crust, Roast sea bass in scallop crust (I forgot about it by the time my next course arrived, and cannot picture it now for the life of me. Interesting that you thought the same Wilfrid as we didn't compare notes at table.). I part company with Wilf on the sundae-- I found this pureed banana and coffee inedible.

Gifts to take home: Lemon cake (very nice, though maybe a little too sweet for me) and cinnamon tiny biscuits (mediocre).

I agree it was a tight squeeze at the round table despite, as has been said above, the place being far from full.

I don't know what kind of building I expected (I think I knew it was on the small side). From the outside, the restaurant looks like a fake Middle-Eastern squat, low-lying affair. Not very attractive. Inside it's cozy with lots of reds. Again, though, there's a fake feel to it--the smooth cavernous look.

Overall, very good and I’d go back.

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Sunday lunch was delightful, in a theme very similar to the previous notes:

*Phyllo-crusted shrimp and miscellaneous shellfish in a very fresh green sauce (according to our server, composed primary of clam juice, tomato water, parsely, and thyme);

*A small square of halibut with beets and a very subtle note of horseradish - solid but lacking fireworks;

*Veal loin for my wife and chicken for myself - both accompanied by typical "more butter than potato" purees and subtle vegetable accents and sauces - both very well prepared;

*A parade of deserts that started with different sorbet preparations for each of us (clementine for my wife and some sort of raspberry/red wine/yogurt (I think) concoction for me) - neither of which was extraordinary but I love this kind of stuff - followed by the banana/espresso/tropical fruit "parfait" mentioned earlier and the chocolate souffle with no less than five sorbets.

With a bottle of Argyle brut and two glasses of nice Oregon Pinot with the meat courses this came in under $200, which is a tremendous bargain in my book - I think I got more pleasure out of this meal than my last visit to Daniel, which was more that twice the price. I normally get hacked off when cuisine at this level doesn't deliver fireworks, but this meal was an exception - even when it wasn't eye-opening, it was fundamentally very satisfying.

Side notes - service was distracted, place was deserted, and the room is certainly quite distinctive as previously noted.

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Would anyone want to address the question of whether lunch is a better bet for consistent quality at Bouley than dinner?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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My experience at Bouley is that the a la carte is significantly better than the tasting menu. More complex dishes with more careful preparation. The menu is very static and changes only very slowly, so it is difficult to go back frequently, even if you like the food, which I generally do.

Steve P -- I would think that it might be worth your while to go back, considering the frequency that you eat out. I don't know of any restaurant in NYC that is significantly better or more interesting than Bouley, although admittedly this is not saying a lot. Its certainly better than Blue Hill.

Edited by marcus (log)
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Would anyone want to address the question of whether lunch is a better bet for consistent quality at Bouley than dinner?

Pan,

The lunch menu is a deal at $45.

My only negative on the menu is the selections offered don't change often enough.

http://www.bouley.net/menus_lunch_tasting.html#full

I can't access whether lunch is a better bet for consistant quality, haven't been for dinner

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