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60 East 65th Street, New York, NY, USA

Daniel New York Reviews

mrgishi mrgishi
133 reviews
Restaurant Daniel May 21, 2012
Daniel is the flagship of the famous French chef, Daniel Boulud. It is one of only a handful of restaurants in America that meets the standards to be considered part of the Relais and Chateaux collection, though there a few others right in Manhattan that also have that distinction. Make no doubt about it; Daniel is a place of pure opulence. I felt rather guilty spending that much money on food and pampering though I definitely did enjoy it. For those of us not considered among the financial elite, it is definitely a special occasion place that might only be enjoyed once in a lifetime.

Despite the prices and class of clientele, I felt fairly comfortable. Most of the staff is unpretentious and I did not feel looked down upon. As they should when you are paying this kind of money, they make you feel very special and are attentive to details and your every need. If you are not a regular or VIP, it is rather difficult to get a prime seating time, especially on the weekend. It is not difficult however to get the awkward time of 5:30, which is what we did. They let you know during your confirmation call that 5:30 reservations are expected to be out by 7:45 for their normal clientele. While this sounds rather rude, they did not rush us, and we actually did not finish until about 8:15. Still the courses come a little quickly when you are trying to pace yourself. I would highly recommend requesting a perimeter table. They are slightly elevated and look in towards the middle of the room. In these locations, you do not feel crowded and you do not even notice the whizzing in and out of the staff as they service your table.

Now on to the food! There are basically three standard choices: a three course prix fixe, six course prix fixe, or a la carte specials of the day. We went for the six course prix fixe since we wanted to experience the most. Each course was offered with two choices, so we got one of each and traded plates halfway through each course. This became quite overwhelming as you would expect to basically eat twelve different dishes. They also add complementary courses, which makes it even more overwhelming. Even though the courses are very small portions, they are very powerful and eventually filling. It was very difficult toward the end to finish no matter how good everything was. We got the wine accompaniment, which is by far the best value, not to mention the best variety and flexibility to compliment each course. They had some pretty unusual choices and pairings that were fun to try.

Two dishes stood out as the most memorable and outstanding. There was a black sea bass with syrah sauce that was incredibly delicious, but hard to describe. It seemed unusual to use a red wine sauce for a delicate white fish, but it worked so well. As with all of the seafood courses, the sea bass was the freshest example of that fish that I had ever had. It was like I was having it for the first time and all versions I had before must have been fakes. The chef has a way of using subtle finishing ingredients such as oils, salts or herbs that do not dominate, but instead bring out the true flavor of the fish. The other memorable dish was part of a duo of aged Angus beef. I’m not sure what the one part of the duo was called, but I would call it the best short rib that I’ve ever had. It was so soft that it melted like butter!

Other courses included a guinea hen and foie gras terrine, peekytoe crab, yellow fin tuna tartar with caviar, kataifa crusted sea scallop, kabocha squash ravioli with sage, pan roasted halibut, spiced lamb and chop with vadouvan. Dessert included a cilantro poached pineapple with coconut that was paired with Tokaji and tainori chocolate dacquouise with rice crispy paired with a dessert Chianti. Profiteroles and warm Madeleines were also served with dessert, which made it all the more difficult to finish. We did get the profiteroles and Madeleines wrapped, which made a very excellent breakfast. All in all, Daniel was a memorable experience … you just have to blank out on how much you are paying for it.
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