60 East 65th Street,
Some restaurants never get old. They just get better. Daniel is proof of that. After 20 years, you’d think Daniel Boulud’s eponymous flagship on the Upper East Side would seem tired, especially nowadays when a hot, new restaurant opens daily. Not Daniel. The service is as is impeccable as ever, the menu as exciting, and the room even better than the original thanks to a very chic makeover by Adam Tihany, who installed elegant glass light boxes, wrought iron wall sconces reminiscent of tree branches, and silk wall panels.
But that’s all just icing on the cake when you consider how phenomenal the food is, which is really a feat considering just how big the Boulud empire has grown. Where to begin? Imagine the most decadent ingredients packed into one glorious meal. Daniel is fancy without being overwrought, or even worse, overthought, and entirely indulgent. One of my favorite indulgences is a Rock Oyster with Uni in a Seawater Gelee with Caviar & Finger Lime. Oh, and there’s a terrific Foie Gras with truffles & celery, too. Come wintertime, the Duo of Squab with a hazelnut-stuffed leg is a seasonal rite of passage (though careful of swallowing the pellets they shot it with. Yes, really!). Lest I forget excellent Pistachio & Licorice-Crusted Scallops, a now, classic Oven-Baked Black Sea Bass with Syrah Sauce, and dreamy Agnolotti scattered with a luxurious handful of white truffles.
Did I mention the killer wine list? It’s a doozy, packed with some wonderful discoveries. The new pastry chef, Ghaya Oliveira, has breathed new life into the dessert menu, a more modern, exotic list of sweets that includes a blissfully complicated Vacherin, Almond Mousse with Chocolate Marzipan, and a refreshing roster of sorbets and ice creams.
You know how you’re always looking for that perfect special occasion restaurant? This is your guy.