Saturday, July 5, 2008

Mercy, Gramercy

Peter and I have hit a lot of milestones lately.  I finished my first New York job and am about to start my second, and in the very same week, Peter finished graduate school and was offered a wonderful job.  Some celebrating was in order.

We went to Gramercy Tavern for dinner the night before the Fourth of July and hopped right up to a table thanks to the holiday weekend.  It was tough to decide between a sparkling rose and a fun cocktail to start, but ultimately we went with cocktails.  Peter's was a gin icey concoction that tasted gross to me, but he adored it.  But, oh my -- the Tea Time was just perfect.  Vodka, iced tea, lemon, amaretto, with a giant spring of mint.  

We started off our meal sharing the merguez sausage, which came with chickpeas, beet greens, and almonds.  Our delightful server suggested a spicy red wine to go with the sausage.  I liked this dish, especially with the crunch of the nuts mixed in, and they very nicely spilt the order onto two plates for us.  Our second appetizer was a baby trout special that came on a thick soup/stew made of squash and zuccinni and squash blossoms.  It was bright green and had big leaves of herbs floating around inside.  The trout were lightly battered and fried, and it tasted like the very best parts of summer.  

We shared the scallops for our main dish (also split onto two plates for us, a very nice touch), which came with baby beets in a pretty, thick pink sauce and bacon bits.  The scallops were tender and soft and delightful.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I've only just recently tried scallops, and now I can't seem to get enough of them.  

I'm a sucker for any restaurant with a nice cheese plate, but Gramercy was above and beyond.  There are about two dozen cheeses on their menu, and our heads were spinning.  By this point we trusted our server completely, so we told her that we were pretty adventurous and asked her to put together a plate with five cheeses for us.  The first was a lot like cheesy butter -- amazing.  Neither Peter or I can remember the second cheese (usually a bad sign...), but I remember enjoying it at the time. The next one was nutty and a bit grainy.  Peter, budding cheese maker that he is, wistfully said, "I wish I had an endless wheel of this..."  Next was our Cheez-It cheese -- flakey and full of that delicious cheddar taste.  The last was a strong and tangy blue.  

It was a bit decadent, but we got the German chocolate with chocolate coconut ice cream.  Good, but it too was difficult to top the incredible cheeses.  Still, an absolutely incredible celebration meal.  

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