Friday, September 12, 2008

The new Daniel

September 12

When Daniel Boulud asks you to lunch, you go, even if you’re the editor-in-chief of Nation’s Restaurant News or Food & Wine.
Daniel’s flagship and eponymous restaurant has reopened after a few weeks of redecoration by Adam Tihany, and the chef has also opened a new db Bistro in Vancouver, and he bought Lumière, too. So he invited some Vancouver chefs to the restaurant and had them cook for us while we checked out the décor.
I don’t know from décor; I’m a food writer. I think Daniel’s dining room was beautiful before. It’s beautiful now.
But it was a fun lunch and I was at a particularly good table, with my bosses, NRN executive food editor Pam Parseghian and editor-in-chief Ellen Koteff, along with Cake Bible author Rose Levy Beranbaum, Food & Wine trend spotter and party animal Kate Krader, and Laurie Woolever of Wine Spectator, an astute overall observer of human nature and reliably excellent dining companion.
But everyone was there.
The last time I said that about an event Regina Schrambling commented that she, in fact, had not been there and wondered if that meant she was nobody, which of course she’s not. My mistake. But she was at lunch today, along with Jay Cheshes of Time Out and other places, Food & Wine editor-in-chief Dana Cowin, Eater e-in-c Ben Leventhal, Josh Ozersky of Citysearch, the Beard Foundation’s Mitchell Davis and Susan Ungaro, Nilou Motamed of Travel + Leisure and on and on and on. Media from Vancouver was flown in, too, which explains why I didn’t recognize the tall guy with the fauxhawk.
Events like this one are a good way to catch up with people, which I didn’t do much. But they’re also a great way to assess the latest fashion trends and hairstyles.
“A lot of people are in black,” Ellen observed, and indeed they were. Non-New Yorkers might have heard that that’s all we wear here anyway, but in fact it’s not true. Black has been slipping out of style in recent years, but it’s apparently coming back.
And fauxhawks are springing forth from men’s foreheads like Athena out of Zeus.
I wonder if chervil and fauxhawks are on the same cycle.

What we ate and drank:

Sushi by Hidekuzu Tojo of Tojo’s:
Smoked Canadian West Coast sable with Japanese vinaigrette
Spicy West Coast tuna roll with daikon, chile, ginger and scallion
Golden Roll: spot prawn, salmon, dungeness crab and scallop
Northern Light Roll: shrimp, avocado, cucumber, mango and butternut squash
Tropical Roll: Dungeness crab, avocado and pineapple
Champagne Pommery Brut NV

By Pino Posteraro of Cioppino’s:
Medallions of Canadian lobster with cauliflower agrodolce, maple syrup-lemon vinaigrette and green lime marmalade
Mission Hill 2006 Select Lot Collection Sauvignong Blanc (Okanagan Valley, British Columbia)

By Daniel Boulud and his team:
King salmon baked in clay with figs, fennel and balsamic vinaigrette
Mission Hill 2005 Quatrain (Okanagan Valley, BC)

by Vikram Vij of Vij's:
Wine-marinated lamb popsicle (so-named, he said, so we white people wouldn’t be afraid to eat it with our hands), with fenugreek cream curry and fingerling potato
Million Hill 2005 Oculus (Okanagan Valley, obviously)

by Daniel's pastry chef Dominique Ansel:
Cinnamon sugared plums with maple biscuit, prune compote and Pinot Gris-mirabelle sorbet
(served to half of the luncheoners)

by Lumière pastry chef Wendy Boys:
Ras el hanout poached peach with Muscavado wafer, roasted white chocolate foam and peach sorbet
(served to the other half)

And for everyone, by Thomas Haas, formerly of Daniel but now of Thomas Haas Fine Pastries and Desserts Ltd.:
Black forest cake with crispy chocolate wafers, kirsch chantilly and marinated cherries
Mission Hill 2006 Reserve Riesling ice-wine

And of course mignardises and Daniel's famous madeleines


Lamanda said...

Bret, this is going to sound simplistic, but all I can say in response to the menu at this dinner is DAMN!

Bret Thorn said...

Maybe simplistic, but accurate. That’s what eating at Daniel is like.
Remember to stay for the Madeleines when you eat there (and you will eat there someday).

Anonymous said...

I got to ask - how was this course

Medallions of Canadian lobster with cauliflower agrodolce, maple syrup-lemon vinaigrette and green lime marmalade

It sounds very interesting -

Jim Doak

Bret Thorn said...

The whole meal was delicious, as you’d expect at Daniel. The highlight of this particular dish was the cauliflower agrodolce, which was served as a sort of custard in a little shot glass

Jude said...

The Canadian Press (one of them anyway) reported this:
"Medallions of Canadian lobster with cauliflower agrodolce, maple syrup-lemon vinaigrette and green lime marmalade..."
as ...maple syrup-lime vinaigrette...

I'm not sure which was more accurate, but I think perhaps the maple-lime would have been more likely with the lime shred marmalade.