Degustation, NYC

Before I discuss my experience at Degustation, I have to make a confession – Grace Lamb who owns this place has been a friend of mine for over 10 years, well before her restaurant days started with the amazing Jewel Bako. Having said that, my review would probably be the same regardless of who owned the restaurant.

I got to the restaurant pretty much right on time for my reservation, but the rest of my party was over 30 minutes late. This really has no significance apart from the fact that this is a tiny restaurant, holding only 16 diners seated along the bar behind which you can watch the chefs cook your food. So standing around waiting until everyone turned up isn’t a real comfortable experience, plus I just hate waiting!

The space is pretty cramped, but somehow it seems to add to the intimacy of the dining experience. It almost feels like you have been invited to a friends home to experince their cooking repertoire, seated around the kitchen counter while they whip up some incredible food.

The menu is all smal plates and pretty eclectic. They do have a tasting menu of 5 or 10 courses which are pretty reasonably priced. I ended up going with an a la carte selection. I love the idea of small plates because of the variety of things you can try. Eating just one appetizer and main course is so limiting and boring.

My meal started with the croquettes which were stuffed with short rib and potato. Unbelievably good. What a great start. This was followed by grilled octopus with pork belly and a citrus and basil sauce. The octopus was perfectly grilled, another amazing dish. After a slightly longer break, we were offered a complimentary chef special, rabbit soup. This was refreshing and hit the spot. Our hostess recommended the quail with figs which we all orderded, definately a must try. And then finally I had the Wagyu beef cheesestak. The beef was tender, flavorful and a great way to end this incredible meal. All the dishes were put together really well, everything was flavorful without being overwhelming and nothing seemed over prepared. There just seemed to be a nice balance of flavors. This really has to rank pretty high in my eating experiences.

Adding to the enjoyment of the food is being so close to the chefs and watching them prepare the food. You can see them working efficiently over each ingredient, putting your plate together as you build with anticipation and then finally getting to taste the complete dish.

Another great dining experience from Grace and her husband Jack,

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