There is good reason for the Gramercy Tavern to have been rated among the Most Popular Restaurant in New York by Zagat’s for the last few years. First, it’s not stuffy or pretentious, second the atmosphere is warm and inviting and third, well, third, is the amazing food.
With soft jazz playing in the background, your first sensation upon entering are the wonderful aromas of the wood burning oven in the large, comfortable tavern area. A large curved wood bar with copper shaded lamps anchors this wood beamed section which serves a more casual menu and does not require reservations. At the front of the restaurant are two cozy tables surrounded by two couches suitable for 4-6 people, ideal if you want to be in the center of all the action.
Complimenting the rustic décor are two huge pails filled to overflowing with fresh flowers and a farm table and hutch with kitchen bric brac and plants. The immaculate rest rooms carry the theme with stone tile floors, twig flower arrangements and real towels.
The main, more formal dining room is actually a collection of rooms with intimate tables and banquettes, china, crystal, soft recessed lighting and burgundy draped walls.
We suggest Tables #200 or #275 as the most intimate for a couple.
The food is a simple celebration of fresh, quality ingredients and perfect preparation. The wine list is moderate in length and has a fair selection under $50. In the Tavern, you can sample wines by the glass (5oz.) or the taste 3oz.
To assist in your wine selection, the list is organized into categories, which I think is a great idea; Champagne, Rose/Savigion Blanc, Aromatic Whites, Soft & Versatile Whites, Spicy Reds, Full Flavored Reds, Sweet Wines
On a recent visit, I started with a Portobello Salad, a mixture of portobello mushrooms, arugula, roasted tomatoes, shaved parmesan and balsamic vinegar. What an incredible combination of flavors; the steak like portobello, the peppery arugula, the intense, concentrated roasted tomato, the nuttiness of the parmesan and the tartness of the balsamic. Wow!
This was followed by a grilled half chicken, with a crispy and seasoned skin and a juicy flavorful and delicate meat. Served in a red wine broth over spring vegetables it was both light and filling.
Other menu highlights; Maine Crabmeat Fondue with Sweet Pea Puree, Bacon and Pink Peppercorn, Black Bass with Farro, Procuitto, Spring Onion and Aged Balsamic and Roasted Sirloin of Beef with Salsify, Wild Mushrooms, Bacon, Ramps and Germolata.
For dessert try the Milk Chocolate Ganache Tart with Barley Malt, Chocolate Ice Cream and Sorbet or the Maple Roasted Pear with Pine Nut Tart and Pear Sorbet.
I love the cheese course, especially when paired with a dessert wine or port.
Dress is upscale, jackets for men.
ROMANTIC QUOTIENT: – High. This is what a restaurant should be; warm, comfortable and pleasing to all the senses.
WHAT OTHERS SAY…
AAA Four Diamond Award
Forbes Four Star Award
Wine Spectator Award
You can rely on “top-class” dining with “no gimmicks” at Danny Meyer’s enduring Flatiron New American, where chef Michael Anthony’s “outstanding” set menus are presented by “eminently suave” staffers in an “upscale-country” dining room arrayed with “gorgeous” flower displays; it’s “not cheap by any means”, though the front tavern offers a “reasonable” à la carte menu in a “colorful” walk-in setting; P.S. gratuity is now built into menu prices. ZAGAT