With one of the world’s most successful strings of restaurants, Daniel Boulud always has reason to celebrate. But his biggest excuse to party is happening this year, when his flagship restaurant, Daniel, turns 20.
Raised on a farm in Lyon, France, Boulud came to Washington D.C. in the early ’80s. In 1982, he moved to New York, where he made a name for himself as the executive chef at Le Cirque. Daniel opened on East 76th Street in 1993 and was immediately recognized as one of the best around. Since then, he’s built an empire of over a dozen restaurants in the United States and abroad, in New York alone having opened Café Boulud, DB Bistro Moderne, Bar Boulud, DBGB Kitchen & Bar, and most recently Boulud Sud.
Certain restaurants can knock down the barriers between you and happiness for a few hours, and at times, Daniel, can be one of them. Every taste seems to transport you to another world, while every gesture of the staff convinces you that you live in the privileged center of this one.
Cocktails at the bar. The restaurant’s service can be among the best in the city, with an attentiveness softened by a surprising warmth and even chattiness, but it is not always that way for everyone.
The dining room paints a grand picture.
Daniel Boulud, the proprietor at left, visits with two diners.
A White Cosmopolitan, with vodka, St.-Germain elderflower liqueur, lime juice and white cranberry juice.
A display of Mark Fiorentino’s breads.
Chilled pea soup tastes of the smallest peas eaten straight from the pod, with salty diamonds of smoked sable and a white ring of rosemary-infused cream.
Olive-oil-poached cod, seasoned with za’atar and a bright cilantro sauce.
Veal tenderloin, calmly flavorful.
Cubes of gently handled swordfish on a bed of corn.
The presentation of the cheese cart, one of the finest four-wheeled vehicles in New York.
Madeleines peek out of a snug wrapping.
Ghaya Oliveira, the executive pastry chef, takes a modern and wide-ranging approach to her desserts.
Mint-scented strawberries are a giddy, flagrant essay in pink, with triangles of watermelon, columns of half-frozen strawberry mousse and ladyfingers tinted with powdered strawberry skin.
Mr. Boulud in the kitchen. Daniel built its fame on Mr. Boulud’s exquisite refinements on French peasant food.
No doubt a great success and I recommend it especially for those who do not know!
Credit: Evan Sung for The New York Times