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Welcome to Cardinal Directions - a catalog of my favorite food & travels to help you navigate New York & beyond.  



Birthdays at the Tavern

Birthdays at the Tavern

Every year, I use my birthday as an excuse to check a restaurant off of my ever-expanding list. This year, I wanted to try something close to home - on the nicer end, but also casual enough to walk into instead of booking weeks in advance. We ended up at Gramercy Tavern - a restaurant which has been on my list since I moved to New York (and developed a minor professional crush on Danny Meyers).

By this point, Gramercy Tavern is pretty much an institution, but this was my first time there so I think it’s worth writing about, okay? In case you’re too lazy to read the rest of this - TLDR; it was awesome.

To start, let me just gush about the space for a moment. We sat in the Tavern instead of the dining room (which only does prix fixe menus FYI), and to be honest, I preferred it. Though I’m sure the dining room is divine, the tavern has a more casual, inviting atmosphere that’s hard to beat when you’re winding down on a Friday night. Mahogany tables & cabernet-colored curtains give the tavern a distinctly rustic feel, but colorful murals and bright flower arrangements bring a laid-back sense of whimsy.

We started with the duck liver mousse and roasted oysters. The oysters were okay, although I personally prefer a simpler preparation. But if you’re a liver mousse fanatic like me, theirs is a must try. It’s obscenely rich and incredibly delicious. The mousse has a silky, melt-in-your-mouth texture that’s imbued with the dark, smoky flavor you expect from duck.

From there, I figured I would keep the trend going & opted for the duck meatballs, while my boyfriend ordered the kielbasa. The meatballs are tasty & deeply satisfying in a home-cooked kind of way.

But the kielbasa is to die for and pretty darn unique as far as sausages go. It’s a pork & beef sausage, melded & cased with raclette cheese inside. It’s served with carmelized onions, and every single bite of this creation is positively decadent.

At this point, we were both feeling pretty ill from over-consumption but we ordered dessert anyways because…refined sugar feeds my soul. Needless to say, their sour cherry tart did not disappoint, and brought the perfect bite of acidity to help end the meal on a bright note.

If the Tavern has been on your list for some time, I’m here to tell you that it’s worth crossing off. And if you’ve been before - their menus are seasonal, so you have plenty of excuses to come back again.

Until the next time friends.


(Tavern Menu | Dining Room Menu | Reservations - dining room only)

Give thanks for Good Thanks

Give thanks for Good Thanks

Olamaie, oh-la-my

Olamaie, oh-la-my