I love a good road trip, and I love to explore the Northeast, so I set off with The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris on audio and avoided interstates. The drive took four hours instead of three, but I saw small towns along the way and had fun. I got a great deal on a hotel, and the view from my room was pretty spectacular.
Gracie's offers an a la carte menu, but the better deal is the three-course meal, which starts at $30. Unlike most prix fixe menus, everything on the menu is fair game, but some dishes have a surcharge (the foie gras appetizer is an immensely reasonable $13 more). There are also tasting menus: five courses for $75 and seven courses for $90. Dining alone, I opted for the three course prix fixe.
Before I got to the food, however, I started with a cotton gin, a delicious cocktail with gin, fresh pink grapefruit juice and vanilla simple syrup. It was divine, and when you sit at the bar, signature cocktails are $5 instead of $9.
After you order, you get your choice of bread (baguette, from a bakery down the street, or the house made focaccia or honey beer bread). The honey beer bread was predictably tasty, but the focaccia was the best I've ever had. You also get an amuse bouche, which I adore. The plate is gorgeous, and the bite is perfect in the spoon. It was a pear with dates and blue cheese.
The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, and enjoying general relaxation, but the manager came out to apologize that my first course was taking too long, and he brought the gnocchi for me to eat in the meantime.
The ricotta gnocchi is made in house, and aside from a delightful restaurant in Venice, it's the best gnocchi I've had. It was cooked with English peas, bacon, local carrots and parmesan.
In between my appetizer and entree, I was treated to an intermezzo. It was a mango passion fruit sorbet, and it was the perfect palate cleanser. I could have eaten a bowl of it because it was so delicious, but the scoop was perfect.
All in all, it was a wonderful meal, and with one cocktail and one glass of wine, it was $50. For the price, it was the best meal I've eaten at a restaurant. Of course, I came back the next night too.
After enjoying everything the night before, I asked the bartender for his favorites when I ordered. I was pleased to see a different amuse bouche. It was grilled grapefruit, pistachios and honey yogurt. It was divine.
I started with the foie gras. I'm generally predisposed to foie gras, but this preparation didn't sound amazing to me. It was.The foie comes with a house made brioche, rhubarb, candied fennel and Marcona almonds. You can see how beautiful the foie is, and it was perfectly cooked. The accompaniments were absolute perfection. Despite not being a big fan of fennel, candied fennel provided both a lovely taste and texture. It was the second best foie gras I've ever had. The best? When my now husband was working a private party at the restaurant we met at and snagged a piece of foie gras, put it in my mouth and made me eat it before he told me what it was. It was my first foie gras, and it was the most delicious bite I've ever had.
Overall, I really enjoyed Gracie's. Not all of the dishes worked as dishes for me, but the freshness and quality of ingredients was amazing. The pieces were all lovely, even if the dishes weren't always as good as the ingredients. For the price, it's amazing. You can view the entire menu on Gracie's Web site.