GT and Union Square

I had a Danny Meyer week. 

Fred and I sat in the front room at Gramercy Tavern this past Monday night.   Honestly, the front room of GT is one of my all time favorite restaurants in NYC.  Not only have I had countless meals there, there is something so wonderful about the room.  The flower arrangements, the colors, the concept.  A top end tavern. 

The menu has changed, as has the chef.  We wondered if Danny tastes every new dish.  I admit, I missed the old menu which did rotate a few dishes from time to time but kept the old standards.  The new menu didn’t wow  me at first glance but we ordered four things.  The new chef has stuck true to the same pub like food that GT was built on.  We began with two appetizers.  Heirloom cauliflower (heirloom is everywhere these days) which was 3 flower heads of cauliflower flatted down and pan seared until browned and served with sauteed pine nuts and raisins.  Quite delicious and very autumn like.  We also had the calamari carrot salad.  It sounded intriguing.  This was light but still had that pub feel.  Thinly sliced calamari and carrots, completely mixed together and served in a large ball that fell apart once you stuck your fork into it.  I really liked it.  Simple and tasty, different. 

For a main course, we went with the chicken and the fish.  Chicken was crispy and bigger portions than I remember with roasted root vegetables.  Simple, classic.  The fish wasn’t that interesting.  A piece of white fish roasted and served over pieces of lobster and mussels.  Just not that much flavor.

I will go back and go back and go back.  Truly one of my all time favorite haunts.

Then last night, I went to Union Square Cafe for dinner.  As always, the service is impeccable, as all of Danny’s restaurants are.  The menu is classic.  I had one of the specials for an appetizer.  Poached tuna (think Italian tuna) served with different beans and an olive paste.  Interesting.  For dinner, I went with the pan fried scallops with roasted tomatoes.  A bit salty but good.  The dessert was fantastic.  Round layered chocolate crispy  napoleon with salted caramel cream and devil’s food cake.  Wow.  It wasn’t the best meal I have ever had at Union Square but it was still good. 

One of the best things about Danny’s restaurants (and there are so many) is that you always get a good meal.  Sometimes the food is out of this world, sometimes it is really good and other times it is just good.   You never get a bad meal and you always get great service.  Both restaurants, in my book, have become classic New York institutions.  You walk out of there feeling like you have just experienced one of the best essences of New York.  You really can’t beat that.  And for that reason, I always return.