Two seconds. That’s how long it took Gramercy Tavern to take my breath away after entering the restaurant for the first time. After spending at least two years dreaming about Danny Meyer’s highly recognized restaurant by the James Beard Foundation (Outstanding Restaurant 2008) and three stars byThe New York Times, I finally made a move and went after it. I love the fresh flowers and cherry blossoms that populate the entire restaurant and the colorful murals in the bar area. The bar area aka tavern is walk-in only and offers more affordable options than the dining room which is a set three-course menu for $88 or a six-course menu for $115 (vegetarian option available). Basically it’s a party in the front with a younger crowd covering up the fancy pants in the back. Lamb Pappardelle Special: Braised Lamb Shoulder Ragu
Sea Bass: Spaghetti Squash, Walnuts and Sherry Sauce
The best part about this restaurant is that even with all its buzz it’s not your typical, ostentatious, white table cloth spot. It truly speaks to the neighborhood and those looking for a great American home cooked meal. It takes New York City’s busyness down a notch and allows you to enjoy the impeccable service that makes you feel like true royalty (27 servers in one evening to be exact).The dining room is filled with American antiques, oil paintings and even a huge steel star that looks like a very close representation for the Lone Star State!
The Smoked Trout is a huge portion for a first-course, extremely fresh and almost tastes buttery because it melts in your mouth. Both the Sea Bass and Hake are great fish choices, but the spaghetti squash that comes with the Sea Bass is a favorite (FYI menu changes seasonally). The Lamb Pappardelle is one of the best specials on a menu I’ve ever had- braised lamb shoulder shredded in a ragu. If you’re dining with a Chatty Cathy, this fantastic dish will be sure to shut them up in no time! The dessert menu alone gave me a heart attack. Who can choose between a Fudge Brownie Sundae, Chocolate Bread Pudding and a Peanut Butter Semifreddo (pic below)? Luckily, we didn’t have to and the waiter brought us all of them, but if you have to choose it’s the Bread Pudding. Again, all you have to do is snap your fingers here and your knight and shining armor is there, or in this case your amazing servers.
Gramercy Tavern, thank you for not being overrated and for making New York City dining so elegant yet young and refreshing at the same time. I’ll be sure to come back to visit the party in the front. P.S. How could you not fall in love with a restaurant that gives you a present, a cinnamon oatmeal muffin to snack on for breakfast the next morning?