Restaurant Daniel’s Enduring Charms

Like an ever-expanding collection of Barbie dolls, Daniel Boulud now offers himself dressed up in Restaurant, CaféBistro and Bar outfits.   While the 2008 model’s  pulp fiction menu of blood, guts and feet en gelée has its peculiar appeals, I think I’ll stick with the easier non-violent charms of the grande old dame.  Here are a few reasons why.

1) Danny Meyer’s brother from another mother: Starting with the name, it’s hard not to see a bit of Danny Meyer in Restaurant Daniel.  Hugs both virtual and real begin at the door, continue at the coat check, follow you down the stairs to the bathroom and sweep you back out to your town car at the end of an evening.  This is as warm, reasonable and democratic a four-star as you’ll get in New York, both the most French—Lyon not Paris—and the most American—St. Louis not New York.

2) Liberty, fraternity and equality on the wine list:  If “Subway” is a restaurant or means of transportation you make use of often, then you’ll be pleased to know that no one’s blocking the door to your enjoying a glass or bottle on this revolutionarily (French) democratic list.  I was stunned by the number of bottles under fifty dollars and by the lengthy selection of half-bottles at a variety of price points.  Easy to explore and hard not to.

3) Keeping the faith for foie gras: Despite the crise de foie in more craven establishments, Mr. Boulud continues to fight the good fight for God’s greatest goosely creation.  On a recent visit, five different interpretations made eating one’s liver far more delicious and far less nutritious than mom intended.  

4) Parting pleasures: Petits Fours are my favorite part of the meal: they are invariably delicious, and I rarely have to share them.  Most people restrain themselves when feeling full, fat and drunk.   I don’t let feelings get in the way.  My most recent meal was no exception.  Next time, however, I might cut back to a single serving of Marc as accompanying digestif.  My car could have made it to the Major Deegan on the fumes alone.  

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3 Responses to “Restaurant Daniel’s Enduring Charms”

  1. Mary M Says:

    Remember MFK Fisher’s third glass of marc? Sometimes too much of a good thing is too much, as I think you recently wrote.

  2. Larry W Says:

    No double espresso to counter the grape juice? Such abstemiousness is uncharacteristic.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Yes, the food is decent and decently priced. Good PQR is an admirable goal, but it should be an expectation, not a cause for outsize celebration. It’s still Applebee’s tarted up for a national brand averse neighorhood. Any CIA student could prepare most of this menu in her sleep.

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