Monday, January 26, 2009

The Early Bird Catches The Worm

When I called Gramercy Tavern to say I knew they didn't accept reservations, so what could I expect for a weekend lunch, they told me to get in line.

I liked it.

"There's just one table for 6, so you if you get here, and someone else has it, you have to wait 1 1/2 to 2 hours until they're done. You can call and see if it's available. Sometimes people are lining up when we open..."

Those were the magic words that led me, my parents, and Liam to the door of Gramercy Taven at 11:00 for a drive-by, then in line at 11:35. While we waited for Liam's mom and her husband, another customer came up and tried the door right behind me.

"We're in line" my dad told him.

Which was good - because later, we realized he had a party of five.

And so, for the first of several times this weekend, the early bird got the fantastic lunch with the perfect round table in by the window for parents to meet and food to be enjoyed.

I was entranced with the arrangements - apples and pine cones on our table, grasses at the bar, paperwhites and amaryllis at the side table. And of course, the food. We sampled nearly half the menu between the six of us - merguez swimming in harissa and chick peas, shredded carrots with calamari, heirloom cauliflower salad.

Entrees were a hit from chicken to an open faced ham sandwich to my mushroom lasagna that was fired in the wood oven.

And the desserts - it's almost difficult to convey how tasty they were with just descriptions of ingredients: pear tartin with a smear of creme fraiche and hazelnuts, an egg-shaped selection of three ice creams, a luscious and fat apple pie, and for me one plate of cookies that included caramel dipped in dark chocolate with pepitas. If only I had room to try the martini with lavender or the Harrar coffee with orange, cardamon, and cinnamon.

We'll just have to go back.

We watched the line snake around the foyer, children peering through grasses and older men patting the hostess on the back. We heard about waits of 1 1/2 hours, pleas to move more quickly from bar to table, even a few glances at our table, but we had it. 25 minutes in the cold? Worth every minute.

And we can't wait to go back.

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