Daniel, Fancy Pants

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Pants at a Glance
  • scene: This is the big leagues. Everything here is done in a slick uptown way, with generous details and a refined palette (atmosphere and food). The main dining room is nowhere as ornate as it used to be, which makes it a little less daunting. There is also a more casual front room option.
  • sip: I mean, do I have to spell it out? Fancy wines, champers, anything you would like
  • savor: Anything you eat is going to be fucking amazing, it is DANIEL; madeleines
  • sit: Hmmm...Daniel is a special occasion place for sure, but don't be intimidated! Without saying, this a place for your foodie friend from out of town, a nice place for your parents' anniversary, your anniversary, or just a place to treat yourself to a very memorable meal
  • spend: $$$$
  • address: 60 East 65th Street (between Madison and Park)
  • phone number: 212-288-0033
  • website: www.danielnyc.com

To begin, I must disclose that the Sisterhood is somewhat fancy, and we have been lucky enough to dine at Daniel in all of its incarnations: the original at the Surrey Hotel, the fancy fancy dining room at the present location several times, and now at the newer model in the current spot. Going to Daniel is an event, a special night that should be savored and enjoyed. It is a night to try new things, look at old things in a new way, and just pamper yourself.  It is best to try to leave the numbers at home- calories and checks tend to add up quickly. A night at Daniel is also a night that, if you are anything like me, you will literally be too full to sleep, uncomfortable on both your back and your tummy.  Chef Daniel Bouloud is a chef that is famous in the old-fashioned sense of the word- a chef that is famous for this food and his hospitality, not a chef who gained instant fame on a TV show or through his personality alone.  But to give Daniel his proper dues, it should be noted that in addition to his skills, he is extremely gracious and charming as well, especially when speaking in French.

Something to note about Daniel is that they actually have an extremely broad and interesting vegetarian menu, (this used to be a consideration for some of our dining companions), and they were extremely accomodating to vegetarian guests, even sending out a separate and intricate amuse bouche.  The service is gracious and attentive, without being annoying. And you know that you are in for something out of the ordinary when they give your handbags their own little cushion, so they don’t have to rest on the floor.  To get down to it, everything you order will make you happy, the trick is just to narrow down what you want to eat.  It is a great chance to try new things, because they will be presented in their ideal form, or you can go with old favorites, just to see how good they can be, or see a unique interpretation.  I have actually ordered chicken at Daniel and Jean-Georges, and have never been disappointed. ( The version at Daniel is presented with truffles cooked under the skin, a luxurious and special treat that justifies ordering a protein that is sometimes viewed as filler on a menu.)

The menu changes frequently, but the one thing at Daniel that will never disappoint and should never be ignored are the madeleines.  They come free at the end of the meal, and everything about them from their taste, to their size to their consistency are perfect.  Our mother has been known to stuff these into her dress bag, so when we dine without her, they give us extras in a box, to be overnighted to wherever she may be.  Now that is service.

I know that there is nothing more boring than reading a review of a good place that says it is good, but a place like Daniel you should just be prepared for it to be amazing, and you will not be disappointed. The new front bar area is designed to make Daniel even more approachable, but eating food this good, no matter where you are, should always be recognized as a treat.

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