Embarrassment of Riches: The Grill

My two week jaunt to Argentina was such an unbelievably fun, illuminating, and spectacularly delicious holiday, that I am a touch overwhelmed to sit down and try to write about it. So I won’t.

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For now. Instead, read about the ridiculousness that was the Tribeca Wine Merchants annual holiday meal.

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But once a year, right after busy season, the staff of TWM get together for an epic meal of marathon proportions. It was Jean-Georges and Gramercy Tavern for 5+ hour lunches the past 2 years, but this year, in order to squeeze it in between my, Brian, Ben’s travels, we opted for a Friday night dinner at the Grill.

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Ah the Grill. Arguably New York’s coolest restaurant at the moment, it opened last year in the old Four Seasons space to much ado and later acclaim, quickly earning a reputation of excess and opulence.  After spending the afternoon watching Eater videos of our meat options, we were ready to go.

Walking in feels like stepping into a Gatsby novel, but with 2018-kind of money. Abundance drips from everything. Giant chandeliers, cake and banana towers, flowers and crystals everywhere. We began with a delicious couple of bottles of Robert Moncuit Champagne at the bar, for the restaurant was packed and our 9:30 reservation was running a little behind. While I sat people watching, what I can only assume was a lady of the night came over my gentleman companions, begging to be saved from her cold uncaring boyfriend. Gabriel, jumped at the opportunity to play hero, although whatever ended up happening was unclear. Regardless, we ended up sitting down around 10 and began with…

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…some incredibly beautiful and fresh langostines, wonderfully paired (because doesn’t everything?) with d’Auvenay Auxey Duresses 2007 versus 2002. While the 2007 charmed right from the beginning, the 2002 eventually bloomed and showed all of the promise of the vintage. Wow.

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This is next level Chardonnay. Leroy wines defy appellation with almost unfair concentration and energy, and these, from her home turf, are surely no exception. This is one of life’s great privileges, increasingly rare as prices head toward the heavens.

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We also enjoyed one of the most remarkable vinous achievements of Rioja. 1986 Marques de Murietta Ygay Reserva Especial is a legendary white wine, and I have been dying to try it for years. Perfectly rated by Wine Advocate, this Viura rested in cask for 21 years following the ’86 harvest. It was then put in cement tanks for a further 6 years before being bottled in 2013. Essentially this is an indestructible wine that will out live us all. But after so much time aging and stabilizing, it is coiled up tight and needs loads of air to open. So while it did just that, we (the waiter) pressed all the little bits of a duck, some vegetables and other things (see press above), into a wonderfully concentrated essence of duck jus, which we very much enjoyed over some egg noodles.

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Theatrics aside, we could all use a little more duck a la presse in our lives. Sheer and utter hedonistic pleasure of umami, carbs, and a dash of cheese; yes please, more. The Ygay slowly unraveled in the glass, revealing little by little over the coarse of the evening….

Further we had some slices of duck which were good but forgettable accompanied by an unforgettable pheasant. Aside from duck jus, I don’t know if I have ever had such flavorful fowl. We could have stopped here and this would have been one of the greatest meals I’ve enjoyed in New York, but there were reds to get to, so we persevered on.

First with an outstanding 1978 Drouhin Clos de La Roche. Seamless. Still dense with fruit, this was drinking spectacularly and will surely hold on for many years to come. Wow.

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Absolutely seductive, a true beauty and drinking just perfectly right now, The Latour 1990 was especially pleasant alongside some duck soaked noodles.

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Finally we had a 1969 Guigal Hermitage for good measure. Ben had a bottle a few weeks earlier  and was slightly underwhelmed, but this bottle was bang on. Classic syrah with pepper gamey meat, it was showing superb harmony of flavor and texture from so many decades in the bottle. This was singing and if pressed for red of the night, would have edged out the others for pure surprise.

So I mentioned post noodles and pheasant we were all feeling pretty chuffed about our ordering decisions, but the real reason we were here was for the prime rib. Look at that gorgeous cut of meat above. This was greatest piece of steak I have ever had. Full stop. You could cut it with a spoon. And I did. Lush. Juicy. I wish I had more.  Everyone needs to experience the greatness of this stunning, stunning steak. It doesn’t hurt when it’s accompanied by just a few of the world’s greatest wines….

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I ate maybe a quarter of my serving with the intent of bringing the rest home for breakfast, but somehow in the flurry of the bottles, glasses, and desserts it got left behind. Sad face.

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Speaking of dessert, bananas flambé brought an inferno of deliciousness to our table, where the carrot cake was good but totally unnecessary. As we approached the end of our meal, the Ygay was finally just starting to show its colors. Totally savory at first, the fruit, cream and spice came out with air. We probably should have opened it a day ahead. Next time.

Next time is right. Let the parade of excess rain down… duck noodles & prime rib…. with the world’s greatest wines and the world’s greatest colleagues, cheers to a successful 2018 and an even more fruitful 2019!

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