Tuesday, January 30, 2007

You Names-dropper You, Dinner at Ye Waverly Inn

Well, everything I heard about the hype of Ye Waverly Inn is true. No phone number, impossible to get a reservation unless you email your name to some address and tell them who you are and what you do. They'll get back to you…

Though I have heard rumors that there is a phone number to call at this point, I got lucky: a photographer friend who shoots for Vanity Fair magazine (Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair, is a partner at Ye Waverly) made the reservations.

As we arrived, the vibe was Celebrity Central. In New York that doesn't mean just recognizable celebrities—though they were there—but all the fashionable movers and shakers of New York that make you feel like its really cool to live in New York and even cooler to have gotten to eat there. I have not felt that in a restaurant for a while in New York, though Keith McNally’s new Italian restaurant Morandi comes close. Ye Waverly Inn is divided into small cozy rooms with fireplaces going in the back, and, I must say, a perfectly lit bar in the front.

Everyone I know who has eaten there did not rave about the food but said it was fine, so I was not expecting much but I have to say the food is fantastic. Maybe because it’s my favorite style of cooking: simple, creative and putting twists on classic recipes. They got the food right and I loved my meal.

We started with a basket of homemade warm biscuits served with whipped butter that melted in your mouth. We then ordered a plate of mac and cheese with fresh shaved black truffles at $55, which was so major! It was more of a creamy bowl of pasta made with perfectly cooked spirals of pasta and then black truffles shaved over them. So good …
I then ordered my favorite salad frisee, Berkshire lardons and an organic poached egg, which was perfect. The lardons were crispy, the salad perfectly dressed, and the egg was warm, which is critical.

I then had the organic salmon filet with beluga lentils and Tuscan kale. I was asked what temperature I wanted my fish, medium rare and that is how it arrived. The kale and lentils went perfectly with the fish.

Everyone at our table was drinking mixed drinks so I just ordered a single glass of red wine (which not memorable), but I did glance over the wine list, from which I could have found a nice bottle to drink, like a 2004 Priorat, Les Terrasses from Alvaro Palacios. In general, though, the wine list read like the clientel: unknown small producers all the way to the big gun famous producers and priced accordingly. There was also mixed in at least one majorly overpriced and several overrated vintage wines. Whatever.

Dessert was the New Orleans classic Bananas Foster (caramelized bananas served with vanilla gelato). Though it was not prepared tableside and ignited, with voodoo dust (cinnamon) sprinkled into the flame, the bananas perfectly caramelized and I loved it.

During our meal there was a constant parade of people back and forth saying hello to each other. I'm sorry to say I did not take any photographs, though even pictures wouldn't have done justice to the scene. Go for yourself to get the full experience.

Ye Waverly Inn & Garden
16 Bank Street


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