A dear friend of mine from Moscow, whom I hadn’t seen since my days back on the Downtown Honolulu Cocktail Circuit in 2004, appeared in Manhattan this past week for a whirlwind tour of the city and its galleries (and, of course, its shopping), and treated me to a divine evening of catching up and cuisine at Gilt.
Of course I’d heard of Gilt, the two-Michelin-starred-for-two-years-running restaurant in Midtown’s Villard Mansion of The New York Palace Hotel, but I’d never had occasion to dine there until this week. And although I intensely dislike it when I read others’ reviews of Manhattan’s eateries on the Internet that devolve into streams of, “OMGWTFBBQ, SOOOOO GOOD!”, I’m afraid that was, quite literally, my only articulable response as each of the courses of Gilt’s seven-course tasting menu were presented to my friend and me for our consumption; the dishes were nothing short of sublime on every conceivable level.
Executive Chef Justin Bogle’s “Tasting” menu that we sampled differed rather a lot from the one currently listed on Gilt’s website, featuring more dishes from what is currently listed as its “Dinner” menu, and every dish was exquisite. I particularly enjoyed the Dry-Aged Niman Ranch Strip Loin with Alliums and Marrow, the Columbia River Sturgeon with Horseradish and Caviar, and the North Atlantic Fluke Tartare, but I think my must-not-miss recommendation would be the Nantucket Bay Scallops, because the Parsnip Velouté in which they swam was nothing short of divine.
The entire evening was a culinary masterpiece, enhanced even more by the company and conversation of a dear old friend inside the warmly-lit wooden walls as the blizzard began outside, and emerging as if into the streets of Paris several hours later, a darkened St. Patrick’s Cathedral across Madison Avenue shrouded in fog and snow.
It was a positively majestic evening.