Giving Thanks for a Few Hours of Happiness This Week at Restaurant DANIEL
“Certain restaurants can knock down the barriers between you and happiness for a few hours. Every taste seems to transport you to another world, while every gesture of the staff convinces you that you live in the privileged center of this one….DANIEL, which turned 20 this year, can make you feel that way.”
—Pete Wells, in The New York Times (July 23, 2013)
The more we read the headlines (from Paris to San Bernardino), and the more unpredictability we experience in the world, the more we want to make the effort to create and hold on to happy memories during our lifetimes.
Saturday night turned out to be a very happy memory, as we celebrated our “30-Year Meetiversary”: Our 30th anniversary of the first night we met each other, the Saturday after Thanksgiving back in 1985.
As we were in Manhattan last week celebrating Thanksgiving 2015 with friends (at a lovely table of 10, including natives of California, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, and Sweden), our choice for dinner for this momentous occasion was easy: Chef Daniel Boulud‘s extraordinary Restaurant DANIEL, where we have celebrated more big birthdays and anniversaries (i.e., those ending in 5s and 0s) than perhaps any other restaurant on earth.
After very warm greetings from charming service director Karim Guedouar and GM Pierre Siue, we were thrilled to let Chef Boulud’s kitchen select our vegetarian menu, and sommelier extraordinaire Raj Vaidya (whom we featured in our book THE FOOD LOVER’S GUIDE TO WINE) select our wines — and to simply take the night off from thinking too much about any of it, for a happy change of pace.
As some fine-dining chefs expand their reach into increasingly casual restaurant concepts (as exemplified by Chef Boulud himself, who subsequently opened Cafe Boulud, db Bistro Moderne, DBGB, Bar Boulud, Boulud Sud and L’Epicerie here in Manhattan, so you can experience his culinary creativity at a variety of price points), it was lovely to affirm the important role of fine dining for marking momentous occasions, such as the celebration of a three-decades-long relationship:
We clinked Champagne flutes. We tasted. We talked. We reminisced about 30 years of tasting and talking. We blew out a candle on the dessert whose plate had been inscribed in icing, “Happy 30th Anniversary.”
And Restaurant DANIEL’s extraordinary team created a happy memory that will warm our hearts forever — even when the day’s headlines leave us cold.
Happy 30th Anniversary
Saturday, November 28, 2015
PERSIAN CUCUMBER SALAD
With Young Radishes
CAULIFLOWER VADOUVAN AND PICKLED ROMANESCO
“OPEN” RAVIOLI WITH ROASTED PORCINI
Caramelized Salsify, Swiss Chard, Taboon Cress
Fricasse of Carrot
Taggiasche Olives, Capers, Crunchy Wood Ear Mushrooms,
Queen Anne’s Lace, and Pink Peppercorn Oil
ALBA WHITE TRUFFLE
GREEN LENTIL RAGOUT
Caramelized Onion, Sprouted Lentil Salad
RED KURI SQUASH PUREE
Garlic-Scented “Berkoukes” Semolina
Crispy Shallot, Pioppini Mushroom, Nastrutium Salad
YOUNG BEETS BAKED IN SEAWEED-SALT CRUST
Black Caradamom, Sicilian Pistachio
Chive Aioli, Horseradish Creme Fraiche
Black Trumpet, Wasabi Leaves,
Confit Yukon Gold Potatoes
GRATIN OF FALL ROOTS
Cipollini Onion, Domestic Mushrooms, Bread Tuile
CHESTNUT CASSIS AND COCONUT DACQUOISE CAKE
Chef Daniel Boulud‘s extraordinary Restaurant DANIEL is one of our very favorite places on earth to celebrate a very special occasion. It is at 60 East 65th Street (bet. Park and Madison) in Manhattan. 212.288.0033. DanielNYC.com