Gramercy Tavern has a rich legacy. Its empowering exposed wooden beams and cherry-blossom filled pavilion sets the stage for a transcendent experience. It is famed for its attention to detail, but more importantly, its ability to provide a progressive, haute American cuisine that is showcased in its affordable seasonal tasting menus.
The first course was a scallop ceviche with blood orange and peas. All I can say about this dish is that it is exuberantly sultry. The contrast between the sweet succulent scallops with the bright citrus twang pairs beautifully with the rich pea pearls, that tie the dish together. The symphony was immaculate. A beautiful, ornate start to the tasting menu.
The second course was a Thai inspired halibut with a cauliflower puree and cabbage slaw. It goes without saying that the halibut was cooked to perfection. The combination of a crunchy and fresh cabbage slaw and the firm, sweet fish was sublime, giving a well awaited textural contrast to the first course. The crispy shallots and peanuts that topped the slaw gave the dish that needed pungent flavour.
The third course was a squash tortellini with arugula, bone marrow and crispy gremolata. The robust Tuscan-sunset dish was an embodiment of spring. The creamy squash tortellini paired comfortably with the bone marrow jus. What lifted the dish was the fried rosemary sprigs and crispy gremolata – not just giving the dish the contrast in texture but also providing a floral quality to the dish.
The fourth course was a duck breast with sausage, leek and hen of the wood mushrooms. The duck was cooked beautifully. The skin was crisp, rendered perfectly. The meat was pink, medium rare. The seasoning was spot on. It was hard to fault. The dish was very well balanced with every component adding to the flavour of the dish. Personally, I would have done without the sausage. Not to say that it was not delicious, it was difficult for me to understand why it was there.
A palate cleanser was served prior to the final course, a coconut macaroon with kumquat sorbet. Even though this was a palate cleanser, it was a flavour explosion. The one-bite cleanser was balanced perfectly. It was phenomenal. I genuinely miss that kumquat sorbet.
The fifth and final course was strawberries and cream with sorrel ice. The sorrel ice was the highlight of this dish, though it is called sorrel ice, it is more like a sorrel granita. It tied the dish together, enhancing the flavour of the strawberries and cutting the richness of the cream. The combination of the elderflower in the strawberries and the sorrel in the granita sang.
All in all, my experience at Gramercy Tavern was wonderful. The service was exemplary, and my company was divine. It was one of the best dining experiences I have ever had. A well composed seasonal tasting menu that is beyond words.