The Gramercy Tavern Vegetable Tasting Menu | NYC
Gramercy Tavern, nestled in the Flatiron District on 20th Street between Broadway and Park Avenue, makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a bustling countryside tavern with a generous bar at the front and warm, homey décor. When my brother and I dined there on a delightfully chilly August evening, we were welcomed with a smile and promptly escorted to a quiet table at the back of the restaurant in the Dining Room section (just the way we like it).
Make no mistake, the food here is a very serious affair. An institution that has served diners for over two decades, Gramercy Tavern took the career of renowned restaurateur Danny Meyer to new heights. It is said that this place is the heart and soul of the food empire created by Danny Meyer and his partners (consisting of places like Eleven Madison Park prior to its sale in 2011, Union Square Café, Shake Shack, Blue Smoke), and many consider it to be the birthplace of New American cuisine. Executive Chef Michael Anthony maintains a very strong relationship with local farmers and is in complete control of the food chain from farm to table.
We ordered the Vegetable Tasting Menu, and highly recommend you do the same (only available in the Dining Room section). In fact, ask for it when you book your table! After being seated, we started off with some amazing salty dinner rolls that were slightly hard on the outside but light and fluffy on the inside, served with some very smooth butter that could even be used as a dip. They were so good that we had to ask for more, even though we had a six-course meal ahead of us.
After that, we were given a small amuse-bouche and were so excited to try it that we didn’t remember to take any pictures or even write down what it was! I just remember it had peas in it, and a hint of lemon.
Our first course was Tomato & Cherry Gazpacho with Cucumbers, Peppers and Sourdough Croutons. The dish was garnished with crunchy edible flowers, and the sundried cherries added a delightful hint of sweetness. It was very refreshing, and is, in my opinion, the best Gazpacho on the planet! There was a watermelon version as well that my brother had, and it was equally amazing.
Next up was a salad of Blue Cheese Custard with Watermelon, Hazelnuts and Beets. Neither of us are fans of blue cheese, but it really worked in custard form along with the watermelon and toasted hazelnuts. The cheese was very subtle as compared to the pungent or overpowering blue cheeses I’m used to.
Following this course was Summer Squash with Wheat Berries, Scallion and Mint. Words cannot properly describe this dish! There was a subtle level of heat that we just loved and the wheat berries added a surprisingly pleasant crunch. The best description I can give is that it was like a risotto on steroids. You’ll just have to try it for yourself!
Our fourth course was Braised Onion, Sweet Corn, Cheddar and Pickled Chillies. This dish sounded very bland, but ended up being quite the opposite. The sauce, which had saffron in it for sure, really made the dish, and we ended up loving it.
By this point we were feeling full (and very satisfied), but we were ready for the final course of Fried & Smoked Eggplant, Heirloom Tomatoes, Olives and Basil. This was a bit of a disappointment as we’re usually not fans of smoked dishes and the fried eggplant didn’t suit our palate.
Before dessert, we were given a small palate cleanser of fennel custard with olive powder and compressed watermelon soaked in sambuca.
Dessert provided us with some options, as we could order what was on the tasting menu, or choose a dessert off the regular menu instead. We selected the Mango Cake and Meringue (made without beef gelatin) and the Blueberry Pound Cake with Lime Curd and Lemon Verbena Ice Cream. The meringue crumble was delightful, but we found the pound cake to be a little too sweet. The ice cream, however, was literally to die for. We weren’t done just yet, though. After dessert, our server brought a small plate of petit fours consisting of chocolates and mini vanilla cakes!
We both agreed that this was the best vegetarian tasting menu we had ever had, so we asked our sister Sumati, founder and editor of VeggieBuzz.com, if we could review it for the site. All in all, we were two very satisfied #veggiebuzzing people!
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