Gramercy Tavern was always on our to-do list of highly rated dining establishments to try ever since we moved to the NYC area 17 years ago. We just never planned ahead enough to make our reservation for a civilized hour (not the 5:30pm or 10:00pm options that we latecomers typically are left with). We finally made it there to celebrate our 27th Wedding Anniversary, but not without some trepidation that the place would be too snooty, too crowded with excessive waiting times, small portions, grumpy service staff and a massive unjustifiable check.
Not one of these fears was warranted. We arrived and were seated within 5 minutes, greeted with complimentary champagne to toast our special milestone, and encouraged by our gentleman server to pace our meal as we would like it. Although the menu was limited to pre fixe or tasting menu options, the variety was excellent and there seemed to be some flexibility with the accompaniments and sequence of events that made us both very comfortable. After ordering a nice Cabernet from the extensive wine list and selecting a first and second course from the pre fixe menu (a wonderful lamb ragu over handmade cavatelli, a smoked trout with pickled onions, a pork loin and a striped bass each with their own set of mini grilled vegetables), we were set for our wonderful meal to unfold. There were plenty of treats delivered to our table to keep us delighted and the momentum going. A cream filled puff pastry arrived before the first course, a pre-dessert creme and berry taster, and an after dessert set of mini chocolate themed treats, all unanticipated, each amazing.
Before ordering desserts we asked for guidance from our server since we couldn't decide from among several options. He reassured us that there was no need to trouble ourselves over this decision and promptly left us to wonder what he would deliver to us. An assortment of three of our preferred options arrived, one including a tasteful Happy Anniversary signature, and each one better than the next as we dug in. The chocolate "neo" bread budding and the almond topped berry cake creation were both exceptional.
With impeccable service, a beautiful dining room, amazing and creatively plated food, and excellent wine and beer options to select from, you can not go wrong here. Make your reservations well in advance and be prepared to spend a little. It is not cheap but well worth it for a special night out.
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