First Taste: Bouley


If you can’t afford a trip to France right now (and who can?), the next best thing is a trip to the new Bouley. When it opened last week it instantly became New York’s loveliest restaurant, a gracious, spacious, flower-filled room with vaulted ceilings that feels exactly like one of those Michelin three-star restaurants in the French countryside.

Right now the smallish menu seems like a bargain for all this luxury. The appetizers—which include a seductive truffle-dusted poached egg, and a porcini flan as smooth as velvet in a stunningly intense dashi broth—have prices in the high teens, and the less fascinating main courses (lobster, duck, lamb) are mostly in the $30 range. The six-course tasting menu is $95; the eight-course is $150.

The food is lovely, but it doesn’t feel like David Bouley at his brilliant best, and it’s not what will bring people flocking to this restaurant. But they will definitely come—to be reminded that a fine restaurant can be a little vacation, a place that allows you to relax and open up all your senses to the beauty of the world.

Bouley 163 Duane St., New York City (212-964-2525;

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