photo by Robert Menzer
When David Bouley opened his eponymous restaurant on Duane Street in 1987, Tribeca gained a neighbor that offered a contemporary French experience using the best ingredients. Twenty-seven years and a move down the street have modernized Bouley to reflect the current inclinations of New York’s savvy dining crowd: An open kitchen’s streetside view entertains a new, chef-curious generation, and a spotlight on nutrient-rich ingredients (chia seeds appear in a lobster knuckle and blood orange raviolo; buckwheat comes in a gluten-free bread offering) appeals to the burgeoning crowd of health-focused city dwellers. The restaurant’s traditional French approach endures in the candlestick-adorned, white-tablecloth dining canvas and the doting service platoon — including a trio of room-circling chariots supplying refreshers of bread, cheese, and digestifs. You can order à la carte, but the 360-degree experience resides in the six-course tasting menu, a thoughtfully designed balance of surf and turf rooted in France but culled from the chef’s experiences around the globe. Chef Bouley has an unwavering appreciation for country life, but the nearly three decades he has spent feeding multiple generations of New Yorkers confirm that his heart resides in the Big Apple.