There are so many excellent restaurants in New York City. However, the one CovetED recently visited is so unique, that it makes it hard to compare with others. From the moment you cross the threshold of this restaurant you already know the experience will be special.
From the moment you walk in, the scent of season fruit transports you away bustling NYC routine, straight to the French countryside. With a client base of highly respected guests, this restaurant offers one of the city’s most exclusive dining experience. If this says anything to you, you’ll know that CovetED was at Bouley.
Walking down Duane Street in the trendy TriBeCa neighborhood you will find an industrial façade with high arches, exposed brick, and oversized windows decked in exceptional silks. As you pass the building’s threshold, your senses are immediately awakened by the smell of fresh apples. And so the Bouley experience begins.
Another door takes you to the reception where the countryside experience continues: hand-painted floral wallpaper, vaulted ceilings, and custom furnishings make for an operatic setting reminiscent of a château. You are immediately presented with a flute of champagne before you finally enter the dining room area.
Inside, the ancient doors and stone floors originate from French chateaux, where noble Frenchmen and women have walked through. Being in touch with this kind of history is beyond special. Fresh flowers – one of chef Bouley’s passions grace the room’s interior, and are all arranged with warmth and care. Paintings of French countryside complete the ambience, and a fireplace located in the center of the room welcomes us to a homely feel.
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As we sat, we were immediately presented with the bread cart, known as “Le Chariot de Pain”, which was filled with a dozen of artisan bread recipes selected by Jacques Mahou, making the selection process nearly impossible. With a Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) award under his belt, world renown baker Jacques Mahou is a considered a craftsman, and happens to be a long time friend of Chef Bouley.
Selecting degustation menu, we immediately perceived the Chef’s bold approach of mixing traditional French cuisine with modern Asian influences. Rarely have we experienced such a burst of flavors in such a healthy presentation. This menu was the proof that healthy food can be extremely savvy and a pleasurable experience.
We also had the chance to take a look backstage and immerse ourselves in Bouley’s world, were we were granted privileged access to his Test Kitchen. It became apparent that it was an arena of vital importance for the Bouley team, were developing and testing new and advanced approaches to product selection, preparation, and presentation is carried out on a daily basis. As an educational center, the Bouley Test Kitchen provides guests the chance to learn from visiting chefs through classes and demonstrations. At the same time, a 200-square-foot wall of slate allows David Bouley and his guest chefs to map handwritten recipes and chalk drawings of all possible menu items being tested in a given session. With the help of this state-of-the-art culinary laboratory, one recipe can inspire many other sub-recipes. It’s thanks to the test kitchen and David Bouley’s exciting culinary talents, that the restaurant stays one step ahead, and accommodates for all dietery wishes and needs.
David Bouley was born and raised near Storrs, Connecticut. He spent a great part of his childhood on his grandparent’s farm, where he become connected to the family’s French heritage, and to the lifestyle that provided him with appreciation for open land and fresh products. He opened Bouley in 1987 quickly taking TriBeCa, and the rest of New York by storm, setting a new standard for fine dining in America.
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His latest adventure has led him to open a versatile new venue – Bouley Botanical. Aimed at being a living events space, designed to excite all senses, Bouley’s Botanical is dedicated to the celebration of private, social and business events, as well as weddings. Located in 281 Church Street not far from his original kitchen, Botanical envelopes guests in an environment of pure ingredients, featuring 400+ edible species of plants growing in vertical window gardens, supported by the largest bio-dynamic green house in New England. Bouley Botanical comfortably accommodates parties from 8 to 75 people for seated private dining events and up to 100 people for receptions.
It is not a secret to state that David Bouley has played an important role in making TriBeCa the hot spot neighborhood it is today. The well-known chef recollects TriBeCa as neighbourhood wihout traffic lights and cars, where only empty buildings filled the quiet air. Nowadays TriBeCa is an upscale residential district featuring numerous galleries, stores and fine restaurants.
After 35 years being in the kitchen, David Bouley wants to teach people to look at cooking in another way and share what he has learned. Currently his mission is taking advantage of working with people who know a lot about Japanese cuisine and plants. An avid student of Japanese cuisine and culture, the Chef explains that it has influenced him and helped focus on his mission of teching people how to embrace healthy food. Overall, David Bouley tries to prove that it is not just food on the plate, but more and the most significant part in eating is products used for cooking.
Currently, Chef Bouley is working with his team to develop special Apps dedicated to teach people how to eat and cook healthy. The aim of these apps is to provide people with health benefits, explaining the recipe, containing the material from thousands of cooking books. All in all, the target consists in teaching people how to cook healthily at home. Bouley is a sumptuous and inimitable restaurant. If you are planning on going to New York, this is definitely a must go place.