Gramercy Tavern Brief Restaurant Review
Excellent Wine, Fantastic Food, Service That Keeps You Coming Back
Photographed with the #SonyAlpha a7s and Sonnar t* 55mm f/1.8
My number one rule when traveling. If I can’t wear jeans to a restaurant, I’ll stay away. My last trip to NYC this May I set a personal record. On a Monday I spent 9 hrs. in restaurants. A four hour lunch at Le Bernandin and a five hour dinner at Gramercy Tavern. It was my second time returning to Gramercy Tavern in over my three day trip. Just happens that I was staying at an Air BnB in next door to the Flat Iron building and it was an easy three block walk for me.
Gramercy Tavern is a breath of fresh air in the world of stuffy high end restaurants. Bartenders and servers are smartly dressed and well schooled and extremely knowledgable about the food and wines. Every staff member I cam in contact with was gracious. When dining by myself I chose to sit at the bar. It easy to make conversation with other dinners and share wine and food experiences with them. Gramercy has two dining areas the Tavern the front half of the restaurant and the Dining Room a bit more formal in the back.
Wine Service: 10/10 A deep selection of California, Spanish, French and Long Island wines. I was delighted to find that each bar tender was eager to give me tastes of wines I was unfamiliar with. And the tastes were generous. The pours themselves, were super generous pours. That left me feeling like I was getting great value. Something that I think is missing from the restaurant scenes for the most part. My wines per glass ranged in price from $11 – $16 per glass. Each wine was served at the prefect temperature. This is so important. A overly warm red or an overly cold Rosé or Chardonnay can ruin a wine experience.
I recently dined with my parents at a very well known upper west side NYC bistro. In the mood for a French white Burgundy, I ordered a Chassagne-Montrachet at $40 per glass. It arrived icy cold. So much so, that I couldn’t appreciate any of the nuances, if they even existed, in what should have been a mind blowing glass of wine. To my wide eyed surprise after making a remark that the wine was overly cold, the maitre’d asked if I’d like him to “pour some warm water over the bottle to warm up the wine?” I was mortified. Really! This was a sister restaurant to a 2 Michelin stared restaurant. Clearly some service training issues here.
Overall Service: 8/10 If you ever travel to Paris, you’ll note that the check is never “dropped” until you ask for it. Dining and enjoying wine at Gramercy Tavern I felt like I was in Paris. Never was I ever rushed or made to feel like I was lingering for too long. My lunch there lasted for four hours. My dinner for five hours. Both times at the bar. My dinner was with my Sony rep. and we had a blast. I always make it a habit to tip extra hard and typically leave 30% for a lengthy stay often leaving an extra $20 bill as a thank you to the bartender for their attention.
Food: 8/10 The cuisine is seasonal. I’d classify it as refined comfort food. One dish that I had was Spice-Cured Arctic Char, Black Radish, Dill and Rye, a delicious creating of wonderfully cured fish. Another was Cheese Kielbasa, Crispy Potatoes, Chicory and Mustard Chutney. The kielbasa made in house arrived with a tight golden brown skin with a vein of melted cheese running through the center served with wonderfully crisp potatoes outside yet tender inside and a slightly sweet mustard chutney. For my desert a selection of Farmstead Cheeses: Cremont – cow/goat, Websterville, Vermont, Prairie Breeze – cow, Milton, Iowa, Bohemian Blue- sheep blue, Westby, Wisconsin each cheese ripened to perfection. A wonderful assemblage of hard, semi and soft textures with subtle to pungent creamy cheeses.
Verdict: A memorable experience. And one that I will return to again and again. Gramercy Tavern hits it right on so many notes and all cylinders. Its the prefect blend of generosity, humble and attentive service paired with perfect food stuffs and great wines
Gramercy Tavern: 42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003 (212) 477-0777
Marc Weisberg is a photographer, educator, chef, former wine buyer, cellar master; and lover of wine. Marc owns and operates a successful Southern California based photography studio, founded in 2001, and is the founder of Wine Photo Workshops. His work is widely published and sought out by luxury brands. Wine Photo Workshops are for photographer-wine-adventurers and image makers. We’ll visit and explore wineries and food destinations throughout the world. Visit with Sommeliers, wine makers, vineyard owners and restauranteurs, with special behind the scenes access. You’ll have the opportunity to learn, make new friends, have fun and raise the bar on your photography skills. Contact Marc by phone 949.494.5084, or email.