MY NIGHT OUT WITH BOB / gramercy park sampler

I am extremely fortunate to have a neighbor, whose company I adore, and whose tastes and desires I share. We have identical apartments and are both in the process of finishing a renovation and decorating the space, which is the subject of endless discussion and debate. This is the first in a series of our meanderings, which I stake out as research for future entertaining venues and inspiration for design. On Thursday, July 31, we began our evening at 8, with a cocktail and snack at Wakiya. The place was pretty packed so we parked ourselves along the banquets at the entrance, giving us a straight view of the center of the restaurant, which was bedecked by long red tassles. It seemed kind of strange to have a row of tables in this area, but people didn’t seem to mind. Our choice of the passion fruit/mango martini was a good one, cool and refreshing, and as it was quite dark, I took a few sips before I noticed that there was a slice of star fruit garnish, which I thought was a nice touch. From the dim sum menu, we ordered the shrimp and chive plus the shrimp and chicken dumplings, the latter was the hands-down winner. The decor was a bit too “wintery” for our taste, the darkness a downer on such a beautiful summer evening, so we made a move to Japonais for part two of our evening. As we entered the crowded bar area, two seats became immediately available, which I always take as a good sign. We continued our sampling with lobster spring rolls with mango relish and blood orange vinaigrette, which is a favorite of mine. A flaky crust surrounds a chunky tube of lobster, which comes to the table piping hot. So delicious and satisfying, we got a second order. Also good was the Spicy Mono, an octopus roll topped with spicy tuna tartare and sweet eel sauce. For our nightcap, we headed over to Veritas, where we winded down with the staff. As usual, we were lovingly hosted and entertained by manager Tim Bellardo. Yoshi Takemura recommended a 2007 Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley, Cliff Lede, which ranked highly as the perfect summer wine. We will be back for dinner soon...

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