I recently had a 5:30 meeting at the bar of Gramercy Tavern. The dining room was gradually filling up, and as I sat there watching people order delicious looking food, I decided to ask for a menu too. I hadn’t eaten at Gramercy Tavern for a year or so but I’ve always liked the food and the wine list. I was given two menus, one for the bar and the other for the main dining room. I looked them over and decided to stay on after my meeting and have an early dinner at the bar.
By the time I began mulling over my order, the place was already full with a waiting list for tables and the bar. I started with an heirloom tomato and bread salad that was lovely. I’ve been eating farm fresh tomatoes for the past two weeks and these were perfectly ripe. The toasted cubes of bread rubbed with garlic were a nice compliment and the whole salad sat on a bed of tomato water. The selection of wines by the glass was exceptional. I ordered a glass of the 2006, Ried Vogelsang, made by Heidi Schrock from Burgenland, Austria. Schrock blends really interesting grapes from that region and this wine was fantastic. I’ve also tasted her Muscat and Welschrieslin and they are amazing as well especially at this time of year.
The next course, smoked trout on a bed of celery purée with a pickled onion vinaigrette, was a compliment from the chef who knows I am Food Editor at House & Garden. This happens from time to time and is a delightful perk of my job. I loved the subtle infusion of smokiness and the mineral and earthiness of the trout. It also was great with the wine. For my main course I ordered chicken with baby carrots and turnips. A simple dish, perfectly prepared: variously colored baby carrots and turnips with deliciously tender, moist chicken. I meant to ask where he gets his chicken but forgot.
I passed on dessert and cheese because I didn’t have time, but I am going to go back. As I left Jim Meehan, the head bartender, thanked me for coming and said he was impressed that a food editor would eat at the bar. I thanked him and told him that eating at the bar is one of my favorite things to do, especially with an experience like this one.
42 East 20th Street