60 East 65th St.

New York, NY 10065

Tel 212.288.0033

February 2008

Even though Daniel Boulud is a rock star global celebrity chef with a number of restaurants in New York, not to mention newer projects throughout the US and soon China, Restaurant Daniel remains his home base. Every time I have been to Daniel recently it has been as part of a large group, so I was curious to see what a more intimate dining experience might be like. Boulud’s cooking reflects a modern, and sometimes highly inventive, re-interpretation of many of the French classics but with few exceptions retains a clearly identifiable connection to tradition. The service was equally superb; attentive and professional but never intrusive. From start to finish, everything about this meal was about as perfect as readers are likely to find anywhere.

We started with the 1998 Henriot Brut, which showed some pretty, secondary nuances that rounded out its creamy-textured fruit. We enjoyed this generous Champagne alongside the small selection of beautifully prepared savory tarts served before dinner. The two scallop dishes were delicious. I especially loved the sweetness of the bay scallops. Both dishes showcased incredible detail and nuance in their flavors. Domaine Blain-Gagnard’s 2004 Chassagne-Montrachet wasn’t terribly complex, but the bright acidity and minerality of the wine worked very well with the scallops. There are certain types of food where I actually prefer a simpler wine that is a complement to a dish rather than a more important wine which might compete, and this was one of those pairings that suceeded because the wine wasn’t too dominanting.

From the moment it was opened it was abundantly clear De Montille’s 2005 Vosne-Romanée Les Malconsorts was a special wine. In fact, I couldn’t wait to actually drink it! The aromatics alone were breathtaking, with deeply spiced layers of fruit that melded seamlessly onto the plate, where layers of dense fruit provided immense pleasure. This wine of remarkable balance and poise revealed extraordinary finesse in its tannins and a totally seductive personality. It will of course only improve with cellaring, but it was stunning on this night. Of our two main courses I preferred the lamb, which was the more classic of the two dishes. The flavors and textures were simply brilliant throughout. 

A selection of cheeses followed. Albert Mann’s 2005 Pinot Gris Altenbourg Vendanges Tardives was gorgeous in its expression of sweet citrus, jasmine and lime. Though delicate and understated, it showed great length and a pretty note of minerality on the finish that gave the wine lovely balance and harmony. It was a great choice for this group of mostly mild cheeses. We finished with an appropriately decadent chocolate upside-down soufflé. Taylor Fladgate’s 1985 Port was a pretty wine, but the fruit was dried out and the wine’s structural components seemed to dominate.


Citrus salt baked bay scallops with soft polenta fennel, blood orange glaze

Roasted sea scallops with savory cabbage embeurée, sautéed chanterelles, pink peppercorn, navette oil

Canard â l’Orange: Cara cara lacquered breast with watermelon radishes, crispy leg with foie gras, wilted spinach

Elysian Fields Farm Lamb: Roasted chop and tenderloin with rosemary Sicilian olive tapenade shoulder and Swiss chard stuffed with anelli pasta

Selection of cheeses

Chocolate upside-down soufflé with pistachio ice cream



Henriot Brut



Domaine Blain-Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet



De Montille Vosne-Romanée Les Malconsorts



Albert Mann Pinot Gris Altenbourg Vendanges Tardives



Taylor Fladgate


[Photo and credit, Daniel, New York]

--Antonio Galloni