Bouley, NYC


Chef: David Bouley
Cuisine: French
Neighborhood: Tribeca
Price: $125 tasting menu, $200 with wine pairing; there is also an à la carte version available with appetizers around $20 and entrées around $40
Phone: (212) 964-2525
Address: 163 Duane St, NYC 10013

I went to Bouley with two friends for one of Jen’s many birthday celebrations. We chose the restaurant because of its proximity to our apartment (we love staying in Tribeca) as well as its renown. David Bouley has built a mini Empire in Tribeca, with the eponymous Bouley,  Bouley Bakery, and Bouley Kitchen (formerly Upstairs, which was Jen’s favorite brunch spot). The bakery sells freshly baked goods in the ground floor of the former Upstairs space. Bouley Kitchen (the upstairs part) is to me still a work in progress; every time I walk by I can’t really tell what goes on in there. The old Secession space on Hudson and Duane has reopened as brushstroke, a collaboration of David Bouley and the Tsuji School in Japan. Combined, the Bouley venues are a staple in Tribeca dining.

When we walked into Bouley, we were immediately struck by the fresh crisp apple aroma emanating from the floor to ceiling crates of apples. As we were checking our coats, we were transported to the rustic orchards of Provence. Inside the restaurant, the foyer is welcoming with its plush armchairs and soft lighting. The maître d’ was charming and spoke with an elegant French accent. It was obvious from the start that we were one of the youngest guests at the restaurant, but the service we received and the treatment did not reflect any age discrimination.

The interior of the restaurant is quite large, despite the deceptively small and nondescript entrance. The tables are spacious, and all guests are seated on soft velvet couches or armchairs. The textured floral wallpaper adds a soft, homey touch. Brass grape vine chandeliers hang in the dining salons. Large metal candle sticks add intimacy to the tables and gilded China adorns the starched white tabletops.

We ordered the tasting menu and here’s a resume of what we degusted.

Apple Bread with Raisins and Mini Baguette
The bread was addicting, especially topped with some butter.

Chilled Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with Cucumber Sorbet
Although it was rather cold outside, this chilled soup was a great way to start the meal. Refreshing palate cleanser.

Chilled Kumamoto Oysters with Russian Golden Osetra Caviar, Thinly Sliced Live Sea Scallops, Homemade Radish Pickle, Parsley Juice
I adore oysters and osetra caviar is salty and divine. Although this was a great dish, it is reminiscent of per se’s Oysters and Pearls and Le Bernardin’s Poached Egg Course, but does not live up to expectations set by those restaurants

Fresh Malibu Sea Urchin Terrine with Russian Golden Osetra Caviar, Fresh Kinome Leaf
I am usually not a huge sea urchin fan — even at the best sushi restaurants. But this was absolutely terrific, I think terrine is a great preparation for the amorphous sea urchin and gives it a bit more texture and shape.

Porcini Flan, Alaska Live Dungeness Crab, Black Truffle Dashi
Another unbelievable dish, the combination of the soft savory flan and crab was delicious. The black truffle could be smelled a mile away and added a nice earthiness to the dish. We also loved the presentation in the mini copper pot.

Chatham Day Boat Lobster Brown and White Honshimeji Mushrooms, Fresh Passion Fruit & Mango, Fresh Lychee, Hyssop
Great lobster, but a let down compared to its course-partner, the Porcini Flan. Loved the combination of lobster with tangy mango, and lychee.

Organic Connecticut Farm Egg, Comté Foam, Steamed Polenta and Artichoke
Love poached eggs, but this was not a standout course

Live Sea Scallops & Nantucket Bay Scallops Prepared in a Tandori Manner, with Spices Imported from a Friend’s Spice Shop in Paris, Local Curried Cauliflower Puree
Unique spicy curry flavor with the fresh scallops

Fresh Hamachi, Greenshaw Melon, Gooseberries, Micro Celery, Ginger Aromatic

Organic Colorado Rack of Lamb, with Fresh Local Lavender, Roasted Red and Yellow Peppers in Curry Oil, Soubise of Cippolini, Confit of Vine Ripened Cherry Tomatoes, Black Truffle Sauce
Mouth watering deliciousness. I love being a carnivore.

Our server, a very elegant lady who seemed to know what she was talking about, mistook this for a goose. Both are birds, but very different in so many ways. This was a delicious bird, with beautiful presentation, but we thought we were getting a goose!

Pear liquid Greek yogurt sorbet with pineapple gele
Very refreshing with a hint of natural sweetness

Hot Caramelized Anjou Pear, Valrhona Chocolate, Biscuit Breton, Hot Toffee Sauce, Rosemary and Tahitian Vanilla Ice Creams
The combination of flavors, temperatures, and textures in this dessert was fantastic.

Chocolate Frivolous for Jen’s Birthday
I’m a huge choco-phile, but this was over the top. It was so beautiful, rich, and sweet, but after the meal we had just had, we barely made a dent in this.


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