family dinner at Daniel

Of course we don't do this all the time. Alas, we don't even do it often. But every once in a while, when we want something really special...

Daniel Boulud has a number of restaurants in New York (and more in places like Palm Beach and Las Vegas but we're talking walk-to, not fly-to), and this is the Bijou in his Couronne. It's located in the building that housed Le Cirque years ago, in fact when Daniel was a chef at Le Cirque. Now, he's back, as King of the Castle, and achieving perfection on a regular basis.

The dining room is large and formal, and cozy at the same time.
We looked at the tasting menu, but  since everyone wanted something different - did I mention that this was a family dinner? - we each ordered separate dishes. So, except for the amuse-bouche consisting of three tiny dishes on the theme of The Turnip, which we all received, there will be pics of some of the lovely dishes that the slower eaters ordered. I note that some people like turnips and some are just as happy not to see them, but this kitchen produced some seriously good turnip stuff, like the little purée.

I started with a warm creamy watercress velouté garnished with chicken wings filled with morels, crayfish, cockscombs, and a small salad of cardamine which is apparently a non-supermarket variety of watercress. The different flavors all worked perfectly together.

Another appetizer, more elaborate in concept, was frogs' legs.  The frogs' legs were cooked "lollipop" style, the meat scraped back and cooked with shallots. This is often done with chicken wings, the frogs' legs are a much better ideal.

My main course was a tasting of rabbit: the tiny rack of "roasted" chops with hedgehog mushrooms, tortellini filled with braised shoulder of rabbit, a few fava beans, and the last component, stuffed saddle of rabbit with asparagus fricassée. I fell on this and caused it to disappear so fast that people were making remarks about bank commercials with Visigoths. I will shamelessly admit that they were probably right.

Also at our table were: cedar-wrapped red king salmon with stuffed morels and a little salad of a delicate lettuce called lambs' quarters. The cedar plank is shaved into thin sheets which are wrapped around the salmon for the cooking and the presentation. The dish is then taken away, the cedar wrapping is carefully removed, and the happy eater falls to. No picture.

And a tasting of pork, which included a tiny roasted chop, some pork belly, and some shredded pork shoulder wrapped in ketaife, the Greek dough that looks like shredded wheat. This made for great happiness as well.
Two of the desserts: Kenyan coffee ganache, lovely dark chocolate mousse on a chocolate sablé biscuit, accompanied by house-made coffee ice cream, and raspberry almond sablé with a crème fraiche parfait and yuzu sorbet.


  1. I think Daniel might be the best meal I've ever had. Perhaps my perception is colored by the fact that the last time we were there, we were invited into the kitchen AND I introduced myself to Giuliani, who was also dining that evening, I lived in the city during 9/11 and putting political differences aside, he was phenomenal in the aftermath. Your dishes look fantastic - the rabbit treatment especially.

  2. Oh my thank you so much for sharing that with us. What a wonderful family dinner.

  3. Wow, mommydearest, what an experience. After 9/11 I decided I would never live anywhere else. Fortunately between the restaurants and the markets, I can manage....

  4. Hi, Dani, yes, I'm catching up on my restaurant posts! I still have some from last fall's to get to. Lazy blogger me.

  5. Ooooo. drooooolsss. DB Bistro in town here hit hard times and closed down. I had one meal with my mom couple years back, it was so awesome. Thanks for sharing the pics with us DB-deprived minions.

    1. Hmm , hoping Daniel's magic touch doesn't fall victim to the perils of overexpansion. We know where that can lead!

  6. Mmmmm, delightful. And none of the family had to cook!


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