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Daniel

60 E. 65th St. (between Madison & Park Avenues),, New York, United States

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Daniel Bouloud has built an empire of restaurants based on the reputation of the original Daniels. The flagship restaurant now resides in an impressive, large dining room with some art deco touches in an upper East Side location.  Lighting in the evening is very low, which may be atmospheric but is not conducive to food photos. Three courses costs USD 105, a six course tasting menu USD 185.

The hefty wine list included choices such as JJ Prum Kabinett 2007 at USD 90 compared to a shop price of around USD 29, the sublime Guigal La Mouline 1996 at USD 650 for a wine that will cost you around USD 350 to buy, and Saintsbury Carneros 2006 USD 55 for a wine that you can buy for around USD 29 in the shops.

Of the wide variety of breads I tried sourdough, olive and rosemary, three seed roll, garlic focaccia, baguette and walnut and raisin. They were apparently made in the kitchen’s own bakery (17/20). Nibbles of golden beet salad, beetroot mousse and salmon cured with beet juice with chive aioli were pleasant though not particularly exciting, and rather oddly served with an oyster, which seemed to me a peculiar thing to serve alongside beetroot (15/20).

I tried the Jerusalem artichoke soup, a dish I loved on my first visit here. Perhaps it was just my memory but it did not seem to have the intensity of flavour that so impressed me on my first visit. The soup is poured over salsify custard, hazelnuts and a quail and foie gras ballotine, which add a luxurious balance to the earthy artichoke flavour (17/20).

Peekytoe Maine crab salad was served with celery, walnut oil and Granny Smith sauce. This has a lovely fresh flavour, the crab fresh and its accompaniments having natural affinity with the shellfish (18/20). Black sea bass was served with a Syrah sauce, leek royale and pommes Lyonaisse. The fish was cooked carefully, the potatoes had good texture and the sauce worked nicely with the sea bass; seasoning was also well judged (18/20).

I had beef, which was black Angus prepared in two ways. Short rib was braised in red wine and served with a parsnip and potato gratin. Rib-eye was seared and served with black trumpet mushrooms and Gorgonzola cream. The beef in both cases had excellent taste and was carefully cooked, and although the accompaniments sound rather over-complicated the flavours worked well together (18/20).

Citrus biscuit with pink grapefruit was served with lemon confit and mandarin sorbet. This was an appropriately refreshing dessert after the richness of the beef, the lemon well balanced and the ice cream having smooth texture (18/20).

The service was smooth and efficient all evening, despite the sheer size of the dining room. Overall I found this meal very enjoyable, if a fraction less so than my first meal here.  It is not achieving the summit of French cooking in my view, but is certainly a fine experience.  It was also nice to see Daniel Bouloud actually in this evening, chatting to some guests.

I made only cursory notes on a meal in February 2002. Along with Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud is the most talented chef I have encountered in America. A Jerusalem artichoke soup I had there was pure 3 Michelin star level, and while not everything hits those heights, the standard of cooking here is extremely high, justifying the admittedly steep prices.

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  • Glenda McDaniel

    Daniel has never let me down. I think he is one of the Best Chefs in the USA and deserves 3 stars. His staff is excellent and I always feel Daniel has overseen every detail. My son had his engagement dinner at Daniels and we know that he will be able to spend lots of wonderful anniversaries in the future at Daniels.

  • RestaurantCritic.eu

    When I read the other people's comments here it was somewhat reassuring to see that I'm not the only one who thought the food at this place was very uneven (even the waiter!?). We went for the six course tasting menu, and one course was stunning (scallops in chorizo crust on a bed of corn), and then the lamb itself for the main course was stunning as well. While the rest of that dish and all the other dishes were in no way bad, it was simply some of the plainest and most uninspired food I've had in any Michelin star restaurant anywhere no matter what number of stars. It is of course possible that I had their weakest menu ever, but I honestly don't intend to go back and find out. The service was impeccable though and truly worth its three stars. See full review and pictures at http://www.restaurantcritic.eu/the-reviews/united-states/daniel

  • R Brayham

    I do not understand why Daniel has three michelin stars when compared to other 3 star restaurants outside USA such as Gordon Ramsay. My experience at Daniel was one star and certainly no more, actually i thought MOMA (1 star) was a better dining experience.

  • KCBailey (www.ponocat.com)

    I ate here on March 15 2008 and had a truly great meal. My first dish was “Pot Pie of Florida Frog Legs Velouté.” It was presented beautifully: a rectangular plate had on the right a bowl covered with a lovely puff pastry; on the left were a smattering of pearl onions and dense mushrooms in a small pool of veal sauce around which were proped three small deep-fried frog’s legs. The waiter broke open the pasty top and drizzled two spoons full of parsley cream into the soup. It made the soup a bright green, providing a wonderful contrast to the solids in the broth—pearl-white morsels of frog legs, garlic, and onion. Overall, the dish was divine. My second was “Quartet of Milk-fed Quebec Pig.” In one corner of the square plate was a thick round of boudin blanc atop which sat a round of kohlrabi. The sausage was not light and airy; it was dense, yet very tender. I don’t think the taste could be improved. In another was a pork chop on red cabbage. It was exceedingly tender and flavorful. The taste of the meat shone through, not eclipsed by any sauce. Perhaps the most tender and best-flavored piece of meat was the jambon de Paris. It was so tender as to be soft and there was a tinge of smoke to the taste. My least favorite was the smoked rib with daikon sauerkraut. Although I like the daikon, the rib was tough and chewy, with a thick vein of fat that put me off. I set it all aside. Unfortunately, my husband's fare was nowhere near the quality of mine. In particular, his sole was pretty ordinary. As for desserts? The choices were mostly chocolate, which is not what we wanted. We had ice cream and sorbet, respectively. Neither was very good.

  • Alex Chambers

    What a mixed bag. Some exceptional amuse gueles, of which the highlight was a razor clam and diced red pepper with ponzu gelee spoonful, were magnificent. As for starters, the standard was set rather high. Wifey had a dish of two halves, both featuring peeky toe crab; a shot of flesh with carrot foam was nothing other than exceptional, pure 10/10 cooking, though it was matched on the plate by a staid concoction involving avocado and crabmeat. The first half of the dish was absolute 3* genius, the latter a sorry excuse for a pub lunch. My first course was a horror show after some stunningly fine nibbles- quite how they thought a perfect set of vegetables and a great truffle broth would be well served by being paired with the worst crawfish I've eaten in years is beyond me. A potential 10/10 dish was kicked back to perhaps 2/10. Shame. Mains: A quartet of veal was striking if rather rich- sweetbreads were crisp, cheek ravioli was awesome though rich, loin was tender though the fourth component was bizarre. A pasty excuse for a puree was utterly substandard and was left borderline untouched- not something that should grace a 3* plate. My duo of beef on the other hand was absolute 10/10- the braised shin was melt in the mouth tender and the frites were execeptional. This was a truly magnificent dish. Desserts appear to be Mr Boulud's strong suite- all were sublime and sublimely beautiful, with particular credit going to the oven-warm madeleines that were presented as a freebie. The waiter acknowledged that were the restaurant in Europe it would hold two rather than three stars and I concur- great dishes and service let down by some howlingly bad dishes. Daniel clearly beleieves he's an apex cook and he shows enough to give the idea credence, all he needs now is consistency and better sourcing. 8/10, at a stretch. Remove the cock ups and we're in 9-10 territory.

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