Sunday, November 4, 2007


When one dines at Tocqueville it is hard to believe that it is just around the corner from the hustle and bustle of Union Square. For one the room is most serene, tucked away as it is deep into the large building which it shares, somewhat ironically, with an Au Bon Pan. This is surely the contemporary incarnation of Democracy in America, Alexis would be proud. The seclusion from the street noise is absolute and makes it easy to relax. But beyond the physical isolation there is an earnestness to the food and a devotion to fresh ingredients that is beyond anything that is available in the immediate vicinity. This is truly fine dining and despite a few missteps one of the most memorable meals I have had the pleasure of experiencing lately.

Foie Gras with fig. I know that figs are all the rage these days on the culinary scene but I found them completely superfluous here as the Foie was utterly superb on its own.

Morel Mushroom and Spring Pea Risotto

Spiced Honey Glazed Pekin Duck

21 day dry aged prime ribeye steak, mustardo, potato-celeriac tart and watercress

Despite being ordered rare the steak showed up in a decidedly medium state, an unacceptable oversight for food at this level. However, when the correctly prepared steak materialized it was fabulous and, contrary to my prior experiences with sauced steak, the mustardo beautifully complimented the dry age flavor of the beef. What the beef lacked was the charred crust that a steak lovers expect, even the overcooked steak lacked external crispiness, the rare incarnation was only a light brown. Never the less it was an excellent cut of beef and has, to a degree made me rethink my opinion about saucing steak.

The rest of the menu that I sampled was equally exquisite, from the sumptuously rich foi gras to the creamy pea risotto to the succulent duck everything was in perfect proportion, the flavors textures and balance all spot on. The service is attentive and the decor, although not to my taste, does nothing to offend save a rather nasty gash that was evident in the sheet rock next to my table. Frankly one would have expected that this be fixed or at least covered up. The service was and attentive throughout the meal and while the prices may be high and the portion sizes somewhat diminutive they are more than justified, this is truly sophisticated dining. Recommended.

1 E. 15th St.
(bet. 5th Ave. & Union Sq. W.)
Manhattan, NY

1 comment:

neil said...

I find it interesting how many high end restaurants struggle to cook steak correctly.