Gramercy Tavern

I've wanted to come to Gramercy Tavern for months, and I figured that August was a great time to get in before hoards of people came back to New York in September.

My mom came in to visit me and we headed over there for lunch. I didn't really know what to expect walking in, but the ambiance was better than anything I could've imagined. The restaurant was slightly rustic but sophisticated, and the service was impeccable from the minute we walked in the door to the minute we left.

I really wanted to get the tasting menu; which was only $58 for five courses and several complimentary small bites in between. The first thing I tried at Gramercy Tavern was the corn bread muffins, with jalapeño and real corn inside the muffin. 

The muffins were incredible--moist, slightly spicy, and decadent without being overwhelmingly rich. I had three...

My mom and I also decided to try some of their non-alcoholic drinks. We settled on a lavender lemon concoction, and a ginger mint drink that was basically a mojito without the liquor.

I expected to prefer the lavender lemon drink (left) but I much preferred the faux-mojito. The mojito had the perfect blend of mint, sugar, and ginger. I am not a huge ginger fan, so I was pleasantly surprised at the delicate balance of ginger and mint in this drink.

The first course was a small diced salad of vegetables and beans in a cilantro vinaigrette. It had a perfect amount of acidity, although I could have used twice the portion.

The second course, a lobster salad, was definitely my least favorite part of the meal. Most of my lobster felt tough and stringy, which I understand can come with the territory, but a restaurant with a Michelin star should have tender, buttery lobster. I felt like the lobster course was entirely unnecessary, to be honest.

The next course--the seared halibut--was the highlight of the meal. It was THE best fish I have ever had.

The halibut was buttery and perfectly cooked. There was a delicious mushroom broth with a variety of mushrooms underneath the halibut, which added just enough salt to the plate. This dish was a 10/10 in my book.

While it seemed nearly impossible to top to the halibut dish, the next course came pretty damn close. Duck is my favorite protein, so I was thrilled to see duck breast on the tasting menu. 

The duck had a crunchy and sweet corn mixture underneath it, which cut the richness of the protein. The silky sauce that accompanied the duck was also incredible. Although it didn't top the halibut, this dish was a 9/10.

Finally, the meal (sadly) came to an end with an apricot panna cotta and tapioca pudding concoction. I use the word concoction because I have never seen or tasted anything quite like this. 

I love tapioca and apricot, so the concept of the dessert was to my liking. At first sight, I was just confused about all the elements of the dessert and how they would work together. Somehow, though, it just worked. The panna cotta was decadent but well balanced with apricot slices laced throughout. And the tapioca balls gave the dish an interesting texture that provided some relief from the pudding-like composition of the dish. As weird as this dessert seemed, I ate it all. And half of my moms. I guess that means it was good, right?

Overall, I was thrilled with Gramercy Tavern's ambiance, service, and expertly composed dishes--with the exception of the lobster. But I'll let that slide because of how incredible the halibut and duck was. 

Next time I visit, I will be back for dinner. I can't wait to try another bizarre dessert and perfectly seasoned fish or protein. 

If you haven't been yet, go. Now.
Gramercy Tavern on Urbanspoon

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