To celebrate our first anniversary, T and I decided to go to a restaurant we’ve both been wanting to visit for quite some time – Gramercy Tavern. I’d been there once years ago with my manager from DC. We’d sat at the bar and enjoyed cocktails and I believe some appetizers – but I’d never sat in the dining room for a full meal.
We had a 9PM reservation but they ended up being able to seat us earlier around 8PM, a welcome start to the meal. They surprised us with a pre-dinner toast since it was our anniversary – champagne for T and some local sourced sparkling grape juice for me. I was worried that my more limited pregnancy diet would mean no chef’s tasting for me, but they were absolutely amazing and willing to accommodate my restrictions (and food allergies) – substituting in some items from their three-course menu as necessary to complete the line-up.
To start, I had their chilled cucumber soup with zucchini, yogurt and sesame. The temps might not have been in the 90s this evening, but it still was a refreshing start to the meal. T had their marinated scallop with fluke, rhubarb and cucumber. This dish was cold (essentially a ceviche) and was the highlight of the meal for him. He’d later jokingly ask our server if he could have another round of this instead of dessert.
The next course was a warm lobster salad, served with fregola, sweet peas and basil. This was a nice heartier take on a summer lobster and the basil added a perfect, unexpected accent.
Then we had their smoked Arctic char, prepared with asparagus, rye and black rice. This dish was so interesting. The spices were essentially pastrami spices, which I’ve never had together with a fish dish. It was so good though!
Next was their mushroom tortellini with spinach, pickled burdock and pecorino. T reported that this was one of the highlights of the meal. For me, it was instead a pasta which was essentially a lightly charred semolina pasta with almond slivers and fresh Parmesan cheese. The semolina pasta was somewhere between ravioli and gnocchi – flavorful and hearty.
The main course was a dish of duck breast and sausage, accompanied by summer squash, fennel and morel mushrooms. Of the courses, we agreed this one felt a bit out of place. The sausage / duck combo didn’t seem in line with the complexities of the other courses and the light summer fare angle of the remainder of the tasting menu. Regardless, the flavors here were excellent so I would say still far from disappointed with this course.
For dessert, they brought us a surprise pre-dessert round – a small coconut cake in honor of our anniversary.
To round out our tasting menu, we also had our choice of the tasting menu dessert option (lemon meringue tart with cherries, wild chervil and frozen yogurt) or any of the options on their three-course tasting menu. I went with their chocolate option – a fudge cake with hazelnuts, prunes and toasted marshmallow ice cream. T went with their rhubarb option – a chamomile mousse and pistachio cake with burnt honey and lime.
And, of course, when we came back home, we had to have at least a tiny sliver of the top tier of our wedding cake since we couldn’t miss out on that tradition!
We saved two things from the dinner – the small box of chocolate truffles and the chocolate granola bars – to enjoy throughout the week. What a wonderful way to commemorate and celebrate such an important day. A big thanks to the staff at Gramercy Tavern for making it such a night to remember!
Gramercy Tavern – 42 E 20th Street – 212.477.0777
Reservations required (for dining room)