Bouley Bouley is one of my favorite restaurants, and also one of Lon’s, but this was our first time there together. Everything about this place is wonderful. They have lovely decor that includes fresh flowers on every table. They use high quality ingredients to make beautifully presented food that is always delicious. The top notch service is high class but not stuffy and I always leave feeling like I had thoroughly enjoyed myself.

This visit, we decided to bring my family for lunch as a holiday meal. It’s the perfect place to impress guests and my parents did mention that they wanted to bring my dad’s best friend (a total foodie), next time. As we entered the first corridor, the wonderful smell of apples begins the fantasy. They had lined the entrance with different colored apples. After we checked our coats, we were seated in the white room (picture is the red room) and I tried to take in all the great detail. I loved the drapes, the flower arrangements, and the arched ceilings. Lon and I sipped some tea as we waited for our guests.

For lunch, Bouley offers a $38 tasting menu, a $48 tasting menu, and a la carte dishes. I recommended the $48 tasting menu to my family and we took our time making choices as we sampled the fresh warm breads that were just placed on each of our bread plates. My brother and I really enjoyed the apple raisin while my mom favored the whole wheat mini baguette. So fresh! Using several servers, they always ensure that everyone at the table is served at the same time — I love that! So out came the Chef’s Canape – a Roasted Beet Gelee with Horseradish Cream and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds. I wasn’t a huge fan, but my mom loved it and finished mine. As the plates were cleared, I saw the bread cart being rolled over to us (one of my favorite little details). Bouley offers a wide variety of fresh breads from their bakery. You can try as much of any as you like during your meal, but be careful: I often over stuff myself. Between all of us asking for different ones, I tried most of them. The black and white pepper and the saffron walnut were unique and well executed. The fig, the roasted garlic, and pistachio breads were of course superb.

After already making myself half full, our first course comes out and reminds me that we just started. I chose the Phyllo-Crusted Florida Shrimp, Cape Cod Baby Squid, Scuba Dived Sea Scallop, Sweet Maryland Crabmeat in an Ocean Herbal Broth. Every piece of seafood was cooked perfectly and the scallops were possibly, the best I’ve ever had. The portion was generous and the balance of flavors and the delicate broth made all of us (everyone but Lon had chosen the same first course) repetitively profess our love for this perfectly executed dish. Lon chose the Sashimi-Quality Tuna with Shaved Fennel, Dressed in Herb Oils and a Spicy Marinade. It was absolutely fresh and well plated, but not as exceptional as our multi-seafood dish. Most of us ordered the same second course as well (I guess we really are related, haha), a Skate with some sort of pineapple and herb sauce. It was cooked perfectly and displayed the wonderful texture of skate that I love. I would’ve liked the sauce to be a little stronger though. For my third course, I chose the Baby Piglet, served on top of a noodle cake. I was very surprised that the meat was a little dry/over-cooked and none of us liked the noodle cake that had no flavor. The dish seemed to need a sauce desperately. I quickly forgot about my dish though as I sampled my dad’s organic duckling that looked beautiful and Lon’s chicken which was also impressively tender. We were also given three plates of potato puree, so smooth and buttery.

At this point, we were all pretty full but there was so much more to come. The grapefruit soup and lemon sorbet palate cleanser was wonderful. It was light and very refreshing and the hint of cardamom made it unique. I shouldn’t have eaten the whole thing knowing that desserts were coming. Some of us ordered the Valrhona Chocolate Souffle with Vermont Maple Ice Cream, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, and Chocolate Ice Cream. Some of us ordered the Passionfruit Meringue with Berries. The meringue wasn’t really a meringue, which is why I liked it. The texture was more like a souffle than the chocolate souffle which was almost a molten chocolate cake. I’m not complaining though since both were wonderful and just need new names. We thought we were done but I had forgotten that the Pastry Chef usually sends another complimentary dessert. His presentation was a layered tall shot glass with white chocolate mousse as the base, some shredded pineapple, topped with a curry sorbet. The flavors worked so well together. It tasted so good, even though I was so full, and the creativity is applauded. Of course, Bouley also serves a plate of mini desserts as many top restaurants do. I could barely open my mouth at this point and just enjoyed how cute they looked.

As you leave, Bouley offers a little gift for the ladies. Today, it was a loaf-shaped cake, which I haven’t tried yet since I’m still in food coma. Although not every dish was absolutely perfect, I still left feeling fully satisfied because there was enough great stuff to make the price worth it. I hope it’s not too long before I get to go to Bouley again.

posted by jessica at 04:49 PM Filed under Breakfast or Brunch, Favorites, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.