Gramercy Tavern

My, my, my.I can't believe I didn't review this glorious establishment before. But after my mom and grandma returned from New York City with a Gramercy Tavern tasting menu under their belts, I had to relay my experience. Danny Meyer, how I miss the joy of having you in my life.

I made reservations for a last-hurrah dinner before I left NYC for good, a celebration of my departure from a job at a hip-hop magazine and return to the real world. I walked in, sweaty and lugging a huge box of old office supplies, the plug from my desk lamp dragging behind me like Linus' blankie. With all appropriate politesse, they offered to put my "things" in the coat check, and I sat down to gape at the Tavern dining room for a few.

Now, I don't really know what "haute barnyard" means, but I suppose this is the height of it. The height of haute. Heh. Oh, French. We walked past Gramercy's gorgeous open kitchen — I can always get behind a restaurant willing to bare its most private parts to its patrons — and I also seem to remember a glorious selection of cheeses laid out on a marble slab on our way to the table. I wasn't into that back then, though. Alors, pas de fromage.

We were seated in the main dining room, which feels more like a hunting lodge than a restaurant, and constantly fawned over by server after server. The bread tong-er, the water filler, the sommelier...the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. The staff seemed to know the perfect times to whisk by our table; lulls in conversation were always filled with a little banter from our server, a polite nod from a silent passing busboy.

Sara and I both ordered the vegetable tasting menu with wine pairings. Brilliant. The pinnacle of the meal: Corn chowder poured tableside over a lump of the most gorgeous lobster I've ever seen. I don't even LIKE lobster. The wine pairings were explained to us in detail as they arrived at the table, and each complemented our food perfectly. The Danny Meyer experience always ends with a little package of breakfast goodies brought to the table, something sweet to wake up to. I never eat them (wtf?) but it's such a delightful gesture, I always have to mention it.

The crushingly sad lack of Danny Meyer in my life now that I live in Chicago is part of the reason I bother missing New York at all. Gramercy Tavern, come to Chicago and visit me.