I Found a Midtown Lunch Amidst the Fancy Food at Grand Gourmet
Last night was the annual gala Grand Gourmet at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Station. I was fortunate to attend (as was our lucky winner Luncher meyekull) and I stuffed myself silly getting samples at almost all 39 of the food vendors. Most of the tastings were from fancier restaurants that are quite a bit out of ML’s price range. However, surprisingly enough my favorite happened to be a true Midtown Lunch.
Dee Daa (on 44th btw. Lex+3rd) was serving the least fancy dish of the night – it didn’t have any lobster, truffle oil, or foie gras in it – but the flavors in the Holy Basil Rice Chicken were distinct and bold. I’ve never been to this Thai fast food spot, but will surely be visiting for lunch very soon. If this is any indication, they’ve certainly improved since Blondie first checked them out last year.
The other highlights for me were the briny, refreshing bivalves at Grand Central Oyster Bar, which had a huge line despite their recent DOH score. I also loved the burrata and artichoke from Salute!; the beautifully composed spring bean salad with prosciutto and a quail egg from Lexington Brass; an addictive avocado jhal moori from Tulsi; and some seriously decadent ravioli from Bice.
There were endless cocktails from Campbell Apartment, wine from Wagner Vineyards, and an exclusive saison beer from Beer Table Pantry. Not to mention desserts from Magnolia, Ciao Bella, and my new obsession, Li-Lac Chocolates (I even smuggled some to take home with me). Boy, were those chocolate hazelnut truffles good!
All in all, it was a great event – it felt like a really expensive wedding minus all the dancing and speeches – one I recommend splurging for next year, if that’s an option for you. I left completely satiated and got a peek into the world of fine dining around Grand Central. And now back to our regularly scheduled $10 lunch…