Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Deliciously Upscale Bite of the Big Apple

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Deliciously Upscale Bite of the Big Apple

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Macdonald, Times-Union food editor

NEW YORK -- Birthday dinners should be special, and this one was.

Any time my wife, Judy, and I go to New York, we blow the family budget to eat out at great restaurants. It so happened that this trip was a couple of weeks after Judy's birthday, so I promised her dinner at the highly respected Gramercy Tavern.

It's located at 42 E. 20th St., a short walk from Union Square.

Reservations are easy to make. Judy used www.opentable.com, where you can reserve a table up to 21 days ahead. We were taken to a perfect table. It was in the back, against a wall with no one near us -- prime property in any Man hattan eatery. Space is at a premium everywhere in this city. Even here, several tables were placed much too close for my liking.

We have upscale restaurants in Jacksonville, but the service at Gramercy Tavern set it apart. Our server was knowledgeable of the menu. She seemed confident with the wine list. But she also could tell that this was no mid-week business dinner. She never rushed a decision or interrupted a conversation.

At Gramercy, the menu is served prix fixe; you have a choice of appetizer, entree and dessert for $68.

Judy is the sommelier in the family. She examined the wine list and changed her mind with every turn of the page. Instead of going with something we knew, she was adventurous. Knowing we both wanted red meat, she ordered a wine from northern Italy, Refosco Montsclapade Girolamo Dorigo Friuli 1996.

Our server decanted the wine not only to avoid the sediment but to allow it to open up over the course of our two-hour meal. By the time our entrees arrived each sip was rich and full of fruit with a satisfying finish.

We opted for the regular three course menu, which featured an appetizer of Tuna Tartar with Horseradish Gelee, Apple and Baby Arugula (in a rare move, we both ordered the same thing). …

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