All Reader Reviews of...
163 Duane St., New York, NY, 10013
nr. Hudson St.
expensive and worth it
By dtulsa on 4/1/2003
this is the type of place where you get the tasting menu or you don't go and the tasting menu was fantastic. everything was excellent--no complaints at all. nothing was mind blowing (like it has been for me at babbo, tabla and nobu), though this is rare. we had the 9-course/$130 unknown menu and had 7 amazing courses, 1 ok, and 1 so so, but the so so was one of about four desserts, so that's bound to happen and who cares. service was great.
By emilys261 on 5/17/2013
The food at Bouley is nothing short of real value for money. The dining experience and atmosphere are wonderful.
By amelialocks on 5/21/2009
I want so badly to madly love Bouley. The interior is impeccable, designed beautifully and very warm and inviting. The service is unbeatable, with smiles and questions answered whenever you need someone. The wine list is well put together and we had three spectacular bottles. The bathroom is so perfect, with it's central divan, and authentic antiquity, that I didn't want to leave - I wanted to hang out. In the lounge of the bathroom. That's saying a lot. However, the main event: The Food, left a smidgen to be desired. The Ahi tuna and mushroom flan starters are perfect. Perfect! But the oyster starter and most of the main courses were under-flavored. The cod was just bland (boring). The lobster dish was the best among them, and pretty good. Dessert was superb. And you cannot beat the apple-room upon entering and leaving. Dinner for 4: $600 Will return, but now we'll know that Bouley, despite it's reputation and price, is not perfect.
Near-flawless food marred by some blatant service mistakes
By streamwise on 3/20/2005
We did the full degustation menu (~12 courses) with wines. Up until dessert the meal was flawless:great service/timing, great sommelier, and outstanding food. However, as soon as the first dessert arrived, things went downhill quickly.....barely into our first bite, the waiter plops down the second dessert(which starts to melt and warmup). Then, barely into the first bite of our second dessert, the waiter plops down the third, a warm-chocolate-cake which *cannot* sit around (although it tasted like it already had). At this point we are fairly annoyed, and tell the waiter he shouldn't be bringing that now. He seems confused, then they bring over some hispanic lady (floor captain or manager?) who blatantly lies and tells me this is "the way we always do it here'(!). This only made us angry, which we communicated to the rest of the staff. In any case, the last three courses of the meal were quite bad, as most of the frozen or warm desserts had been sitting around before we got to them. I do give strong kudos to the sommelier, who did try to make up for the disastrous ending to the meal with a gift bottle of dessert wine.
By kabasan on 3/20/2003
The food was not impressive for the price. Staff was very knowledgeable & attentive though. Decor inside was a bit dark & sad looking.
By restaurantfairy on 10/30/2010
The first time I ate at Bouley was in 1996. My mother in-law took my husband (fiancÃ©e at that time) and me for dinner to celebrate our graduating Graduate School from Columbia. The experience Â for me was beyond divine. Even though it was almost 12 years ago, I still remember being delighted by every course we were served! Little did I know at that time that Bouley would close down that very year. Iâ€™ve never forgotten that meal. I really think it was one of the best meals I have ever hadâ€¦.in my entire life! So, after 12 long years of Bouley having closed, reopened, moved locations and so on, I finally went back to try it one more time.Â This time I went for lunch. They have a great pre-fix deal for lunch for $48. I have to say that overall I was disappointed with this meal. The two outstanding things I ate were the Crab-Porcini mushroom flan and the dessert. The rest of the meal was just okay. I would go back again though. Bouley is such a charming place, with impeccable service and grace. I really enjoyed the experience and parts of the meal were outstanding. Itâ€™s hard to judge a place like Bouley based on just one meal and one menu. I still believe that Chef David Bouley can recreate the magic that I experienced 12 years ago and I am willing to go back and try. For pictures and more food details click on this link: http://therestaurantfairy.com/2009/12/26/lunch-at-bouley/
Bouley Service Hell
By tkoby11 on 5/9/2010
We dined at Bouley optimisticly having read about poor service reviews.The lack of attention to detail,sloppiness,and lack of respect for the diner started the second we sat down.Food was great but fine dining is also about excellent service. We were impressed with the decor as we made our way to the dining room below ground on the lower level.The decor is old French castle with Far East tapestry and drapery. The menu was different than the one on their website.Online had 2 tasting menus and priced at $95.Ours had 1 tasting menu and priced $30 MORE at 125. Bait and switch,WTF! Wine list ok, not deep.We got gipped by the wine pairing's extra mini-pours.Wine pairings should last the length of the course!Other tables had deeper pours,WTF! We waited 20 mins btw courses, as long as 40,yes FORTY,once.Not ONCE an apology courteous recognition of slow service,WTF! The flatware was replaced with each course and placed haphazardly on the table. Saving grace=food was excellent.Oysters were great, though one was sandy. Rack of lamb was cooked to perfection,maybe too much sauce and caper. Jasmine tea smoked salmon was the best piece of salmon I remember having in many years: medium rare, simple execution yet complex and focused flavors delivered an exceptional course-best of the night.The bouillabaisse was excellent and the broth tasty, maybe a bit cool. I hope Monsieur Bouley realizes how poorly his food is being served and how sub-par the diners are being treated.
Not What It Used To Be
By JudgeJudy on 11/21/2009
I used to treat myself to either the lunch or dinner prix fixe tasting menu. Boy, has the quality of food gone down. A fatty piece of steak that I paid $25 extra for! Very slow service. I'll be going to the Duane Park Cafe across the street instead; they are consistently good and not grossly over-priced as Bouley is.
Beautiful but tasting menu was disappointing
By zeecee on 3/31/2003
To be fair, I'm not a fan of tasting menus, have never been smitten by any dish given me but I've tried Bouley twice, once before and once after the renovation. I came away dazzled by the decor and disappointed by the dishes. For one thing, tasting takes your attention, so unless you're sick of the person you're with, more attention goes to what's coming and going than when you're eating normally. And somehow nothing seems as good when it's presented in thimble-sized portions. Though I never wanted more of any one thing. Bouley is expensive and is an occasion, but it's not an occasion I'd repeat. You end up spending around $100 per person and for me, it was only the surroundings that seemed special.
By wanderkinder on 8/11/2008
Perhaps it is unfair to compare it to the likes of the 3* Michelin/19-20 hat Gault Millau restaurants or even Per Se which we had just experienced prior to here, but there was no denying that the food was less than stellar. Tried too hard on flavor combinations so that natural flavors didn't come through, foie gras tasted like a lump of lard and was undercooked, souffle was more like molten chocolate cake. Waiter was offended we asked for sommelier's assistance and made snide remarks about it. Other service was up to professional and up to par. Decor was going for old world charm, but just wound up looking like it needs a face lift. The breads were good. Overall we thought it was rather overpriced for what we got.
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