All Reader Reviews of...
163 Duane St., New York, NY, 10013
nr. Hudson St.
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 CaptainCook on 6/2/2004
When you're spending $300+ for two, you come to expect service that cares for the diners. From the moment we walked in, we felt unwelcome. The male staff looked rumpled, tired, and was very unfriendly; burly guys in jackets off the bargain rack. We did the tasting menu with wine, and sometimes the wine got lonely waiting for the food, which when it came, was barely warm. Likewise, the bluefin sashimi, which should have been cold, must have been sitting on the warming tray. The food and wine tasted ok, but the extremely poor service detracted from the evening. No one asked how we were doing, or if everything was ok. And about that bread: it was awful. The so-called sourdough was nothing of the sort. And watch where you sit: the air conditioning units can intermittently blast you with cold air. Better to walk a few more blocks to Chanterelle.
Sloppy, Overcooked and Tired
By Abbey on 3/30/2004
Walking in through the apple laden foyer into a wonderfully warm and romantic restaurant, we just expected the food to be good - the service to be efficient and friendly. What we received was poor, sloppy service where, for example, they serve the chef's appetizer while you still have your menu in hand. What to do? Eat the appetizer and place the oversize menu on your lap or wait to order while your iced appetizer melts. Of course, after one taste of the appetizer, we resumed to the menu. In general the food was tired and sometimes overcooked. Bouley tries too hard to infuse an asian flavor into every dish. Perhaps this was an off night, but honestly, it was our last.
Amazing...a legend survives
By huntleysf on 10/11/2003
It's almost unheard of for a famous restaurant to be reborn as good as the original, but Bouley has done it. Superlative food in a wonderful, soothing setting. Imagination in every dish. David Bouley is the best American-born chef in NYC, and his prix fixe lunch is a fantastic gourmet bargain. (Plus, the new location is easy to find...a straight shot down 7th Ave. to W. Broadway)
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.
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.
Food, Service & Decor = Quality
By adam on 3/25/2003
Dining in NY is like looking for sea shells on the beach, there are plenty to choose from but the precious ones are few, Bouley is one of those finds. My experience started when I had to wait an hour for my table, because of a large party that arrived late. The wait was not only worth it, but the staff tried with success to make it up to my wife and I. The decor is beautiful and comfortable without being stuffy. The dishes were as inventive as they were delicious and the portions were more than satisfying. Our prize for waiting included an appetizer and desert. What a special place.
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 diningdiva on 1/12/2003
Like pampering, ambiance and excellent cuisine? Well, this is a place to put on Top of your list. Easily located, your world changes immediately upon entering this extraordinary restaurant. The entire staff was most attentive, but not distracting. Every need was anticipated - no need to ask. That was one of the most amazing elusive attractions of Bouley. The courses were timely, not hurried and the presentation of each course was immaculate. The color/s, texture/s and plates were works of "art". Selections are plentiful and the Chef Surprises (sorbet/dessert mini tray) were most "personal" gifts from him to restaurant clients. I was impressed with the entire experience and would highly recommend it for anyone desiring a dining experience of a lifetime. One item I felt needed to be addressed was the use of cell phones ringing. During such an exceptional dining experiece the ring cell phones were a total annoyance and distraction. It is a place that needs ones total attention to the dining experience when so many are working very hard to make sure it a "perfect" outing.
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