Pete Wells files on Daniel Boulud's fine dining flagship Daniel this week, and in a surprise move, he knocks it down a star. That's right, Daniel no longer holds four stars from the New York Times. Wells pulled a Ruth Reichl-esque stunt on one of his visits:
One night I had a reservation 15 minutes apart from a colleague who wasn't likely to be recognized, as I repeatedly was. We both ordered the six-course $195 tasting menu. (A three-course prix fixe dinner is $116.) Our meals were virtually identical. Our experiences were not.
The kitchen sent two amuse courses to my table. His got one. A few remaining sips of my wine, ordered by the glass, were topped off. His glass sat empty at times while he waited to be offered another.
We both ate extraordinary fried lollipops of filleted frogs' legs on a long stick of bone, but only I was then brought a napkin-covered bowl of rosemary- and lemon-scented water for rinsing my fingers.
Wells has very good things to say about the food and especially the pastries from Ghaya Oliveira. But the critic writes: "[A] restaurant can't be blamed for trying to impress a critic. It can be faulted, though, for turning its best face away from the unknowns, the first-timers, the birthday splurgers, the tourists." [NYT]
· A Light That Shines Through the Clouds [NYT]
· All Coverage of Daniel [~ENY~]