In the foreword for the new Gramercy Tavern Cookbook, New York restaurateur Danny Meyer describes his idea of a tavern:
I was convinced we had to make all these disparate ideas come together in one restaurant: that refined restaurant in Paris with a twinkle in its eye, a trattoria in Rome, a rustic Early American watering hole, and our space in the heart of nineteenth-century Manhattan, literally down the block from the house where Teddy Roosevelt was born in 1858. Does such a fairy tale restaurant exist in the world? Meyer's version of it, Gramercy Tavern, opened in 1994, and now, nearly twenty years later, it also has a cookbook.
Michael Anthony, who has been chef at Gramercy Tavern since the 2006 departure of founding chef Tom Colicchio, divides the recipes in the book seasonally. It's a slightly upscale version of an all-purpose cookbook: the recipes are simple, for things like chocolate chip cookies, spaetzle, broccoli puree. But the platings, should you choose to imitate them (and you really don't have to) are all intricate, New York restaurant food.
The book thus magically hits a cookbook sweet spot in much the same way Meyer aimed for perfect hybrid restaurant when he opened Gramercy. While the book is large and glossy and could lean ever so slightly towards dated, instead it veers solid, classy even. It's bursting with the vibrancy of the restaurant, and, frankly, a good amount of useful information. Quite the trick.
The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook is by Michael Anthony and co-written by Dorothy Kalins, with a foreword by Danny Meyer. Photography was done by Maura McEvoy. It's out now from Clarkson Potter (order on Amazon). Take a look: