Well, as the best stories begin… coincidentally, I had the opportunity to dine at the Chef’s Table at The Mansion one Thursday in late May… I had planned to visit my bother in Brooklyn the coming weekend, and as it happened – Chef Tesar was scheduled to appear on the CBS Morning Show that following Saturday morning. So, WTF, we decided to meet up in Manhattan. We agreed to perhaps cross paths at Daniel…
So I’m chillin’ late in the evening at my bro’s pad in Park Slope, and decide I’ll head into town… I had a line on an Uni genius, found at the eponymous SOTO.
Well, Soto delivered in spades.
Thinking the evening had slipped by, I took a cab to the Upper East Side around 11:00 PM… I mean come on, the bar at Daniel is surely open after hours… and even though I do have a coat on – if we just have a quick cocktail in the bar no-one will care that I’m wearing JEANS!
At this point, dear readers, you are of two camps…
Let’s step back… There is some history to the space now occupied by Restaurant Daniel – it was previously Sirio Maccioni’s Le Cirque, where Chef Daniel Boulud was executive chef from 1986-1992. In 1998 Boulud relocated Restaurant Daniel to this same space.
As one descends the staircase to the hostess stand, you are immediately reminded of the dramatic history of this room. Keep in mind, too, that Boulud’s Daniel holds Two Michelin Stars (only six NYC restaurants have this distinction).
I, holding onto the last physical remnants of my Rock Star past, bound down the stairs to the lovely hostess and attendants awaiting me. “I’m just running into the bar, my buddy may be joining me… I’ll just have a look.” I dash into the bar and b-line to the counter, iPhone in hand… I’ll just text John… It MUST be too late… c’est la vie. Not good enough for our attentive hosts. “May we inquire as to which party you are meeting?” No, don’t mind me, I have an iPhone, and will be just fine. “It’s not a problem, who are you meeting, let me look in the book.” Our hostess is so lovely, I acquiesce and drop Tesar’s name… “Oh. He’s here… excuse me.” Hmmm… Brad, Just order a single malt and STAY IN THE BAR. Macallan 25?… no, vintage… ’76?… “Chef Tesar asks if you will join him at his table.”
OK, so…it’ll be cool, just duck in.
No dice. The supermodel, that happens to be hosting, picks up a beautiful red, high backed chair – and with genuine enthusiasm says, “Follow me.” In we go to the dining room – there are no empty chairs – only enough for the diners, and not – as the case happens to be – late-comers. I see Boulud momentarily as he rounds the corner headed back into the kitchen.
As I arrive at the table, John is gracious, introduces me to his guest and announces “Well, Brad’s here now… we need more wine”. and thus the evening begins.
To be continued.