DANIEL: Surprisingly underwhelming

Daniel 1
Dear Food Diary:
Daniel is one of those places I’ve been wanting to go but never found an occasion. When StalkerBoy and his friends made reservations, I was delighted to be invited.

Daniel 2
I’ve heard great things, followed him on tv appearances and I’ll even admit, I dig that accent of his. Naturally, my tastebuds were waiting for a meal to remember. A savory trip to my beloved Paris perhaps. It was hard to contain my excitement.
Daniel 16
As expected, gorgeous dining room with beautiful flowers, attention to detail from the design on the plates, seating and lovely lighting.
Daniel 5
The bread was slightly warm. I enjoyed their walnut raisin and cheese options.
Daniel 4
The amuse-bouche trio was ok at best. Some beet gelee, soup and shrimp. In fact, right after I took the bites, I experienced flavor amnesia for a moment. Regardless, my excitement held up for what was to come. Our sommelier was rather helpful and friendly. With our riesling at hand we anticipated mmmmms and ahhhhhhhhs all around the table.



Daniel 6
Pieces of honshimeji mushrooms were swimming in the pool of the smooth artichoke soup. The black garlic flavors hid the natural fragrance of the mushrooms. Sprinkles of chive were found here and there. The frog legs were lightly fried. It was an interesting combo. I enjoyed it, but wouldn’t drool at the thought of it.

Daniel 7
This sounded more exciting than what it really was. The abalone tasted like it was from a can I could get at the Asian supermarket. Really not worth the extra $$. Pommes Duchesse was just fancy for mash potatoes, the white asparagus was ok, the mustard vinaigrette didn’t do much aside from adding color to the plate. I hate prix-fixe with “supplements” in general, how about be proud of what it is included, instead of squeezing extra dollars out of our wallets?

Daniel 10
I’ve never had milk fed pig before and while this pork was tender and juicy, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference with non-milk fed hogs. Crispy skin on pork always tickles my appetite. There were a piece of roasted chop with glazed turnips. Braised shoulders cannelloni with cucumber. Smoked ribs with fennel and avocado coleslaw with a vanduvan jus, which added a precious curry flavor to the mix.
Daniel 9
The wonderful, deep luscious syrah sauce was drizzled onto that perfectly cooked piece of fish at the table. I would of been perfectly content by ending the night with this alone. Unmistakably one of his signature dishes. The crispy skin covers delicately moist black sea bass. There’s an intense tongue pleaser in the sauce, both savory with hints of sweetness. A natural umami. Stuffed leeks, potatoe confit with caramelized cipollini gracefully stood on the sidelines, adding texture whenever the palate longed for. Beautifully executed dish. I would give this a 5 Chubby Rating, too bad the rest of the dishes didn’t come close.


Daniel 11
Was pleasing to the eye and tastebuds. Tart, sweet and creamy. Melt in your mouth Swiss meringue, creme Chantilly and crunchy buttery crisp. Light and satisfying. Every bite had a different combo of flavors and textures while lemon zest brightened between spoonfuls.

Daniel 13
The Manjari chocolate mouse domes over the nougat was pleasing on the plate, specially with that chocolate “hat” on top (it looks British Royalty to me in a silly way). The pistachio cream tasted fine, but that presentation didn’t look too appetizing. A light toasted almond ice cream on the side. Everything separately was good. The nougat chewy, yet soft and nutty, the chocolate mouse is intense and bitter sweet. But together, there was a disconnect of textures for me. It was like having too many positives on a plate, that all together became a negative.

Daniel 14
Felt like a basket of kisses. Fresh, warm and ohhh so buttery, these alone made me happy. Such a treat. Every meal should end this way.

Daniel 15
Daniel 17
They were very pretty to look at, but for a table of four, it was hard to decide. I would of preferred less variety but equal amounts of each so we could all sample and discuss. The chocolates really weren’t worth my calories. The dots indicate the different flavors, but nothing stood out.

Overall, it was surprisingly unmemorable and underwhelming (aside from the Roasted Black Sea Bass with Syrah Sauce). It wasn’t bad by any means, but maybe my tastepectations were too high, I walked out a bit disappointed, specially after dining at Per Se and Le Bernadin, this really didn’t compare.

Service was a bit snooty and stuffy (sommelier not included). They basically came over, put the dishes down and walked away. I had to ask several times for description, even so, the explanation lacked any passion.

Chubby’s RATING: chubby rating 3.5
60 East 65th Street
Daniel on Urbanspoon

5 Responses to DANIEL: Surprisingly underwhelming

  1. Anonymous says:

    As I mentioned in my most recent Daniel post, http://ramblingsandgamblings.blogspot.com/2011/06/wonderful-exquisite-dinner-at-daniel.html
    a wow experience can be had, but you have to order very carefully. Otherwise, the food will be very well executed, but not necessarily spectacular.

    The black bass with syrah sauce is definitely one of his signatures and always on the menu. I was surprised at your frog legs and Jerusalem artichoke soup. That looks pretty much like a direct rip off of Jean Georges' signature young garlic soup with fried frogs legs, right down to the presentation.

    Looking forward to your review of Per Se. I have Per Se equal with EMP (although EMP is better value), and Daniel just below them.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well it's a 3 michelin star place, so i wouldn't think ordering has to be like walking on land mines. At that caliber I would assume everything on the menu should be amazing. Maybe my expectations were too high?

    Really? well if its a copy I would say it wasn't an amazing one. So so…

    But PerSe and Le Bernadin def lived up to my expectations. Everything was memorable. Service was attentive and not snooty

  3. Anonymous says:

    Besides the fact that I think Michelin is pretty useless outside of Europe, the short history of Michelin in the US can create inconsistent expectations.

    Back in the old days, sometimes 2 stars were awarded for spectacular cuisine but the 3rd star would represent a consistency across all facets of the dining experience. Many restaurants would go almost a decade before they showed the consistency that warranted a third star.

    Daniel certainly delivers on that consistency in execution, and all the dishes do rate from very good to sometimes wow, but not all 3 star restaurants are meant to have completely wow cuisine.

    I probably need to revisit Le Bernardin at some point after the upcoming renovations, but I was extremely disappointed in my one meal there years ago. The food didn't feel special, the service was snooty, and there was no value whatsoever.

  4. Anonymous says:

    omg!!! i cant believe it! my post just disappeared!!!! urghhh i hate blogger

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thank goodness for techy friends/hero!!!! and google cache, watever that means… weird lines on the post, but at least saved!

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