David Bouley RIP


Bouley in Tribeca was one of my earliest “fancy meals” and I loved the place and the food. Their lunch was famously one of the best deals in town.

I remember taking my family there some time later for someone’s birthday, and I had not registered the button down shirt and jacket requirement for men. My dad, a very particular dresser, was mortified when host mentioned it, because he had plenty of both but happened to be in a polo that day because I had missed this detail. They very quickly and graciously resolved it by giving him one of the jackets they kept at hand for this purpose and ignoring the shirt. A lovely meal ensued, with them taking special care to accommodate my mom, who is vegetarian (and my dad’s bruised ego too :rofl:).

I remember they served an egg custard with wild mushrooms, crab, and truffles, and it was the only dish they could not adequately make vegetarian, so they brought my mom something entirely different with wild mushrooms and truffles, and brought her custard to the table anyway, because it was “so delicious” that they knew the rest of us would want to eat her share :joy:.

I recognized the custard as chawanmushi many years later and became obsessed with it, and then encountered the french form again as “pascaline” at Foxface these many years later, where they mentioned the Bouley custard as their inspiration.

I just looked up an old Bouley menu — “Porcini Flan with Alaskan dungeness crab, black truffle dashi”


Oh wow. I also have fond memories of a fancy lunch (my first I think) at Bouley… Specifically the bread cart. We found the service,though formal, to be very friendly and what a deal it was back then. Something like $50 for a multi course meal that was just perfect.


I’m reading Give a girl a knife, Amy Thielen’s memoir right now. Her first job was at Bouley’s restaurant Danube. I googled him just a few days ago. Vivid description of the food and plating in the book. Sorry to hear the news. 70 is considered young these days, rest in peace.


We ate at his restaurants several times, and always loved them.


My sister and I had our annual Christmas Eve fancymeal at Bouley Bakery in 1998. All I remember about it is that the couple at the next table got a free bottle of champagne, and my sister and I were like, what’s up with that? and the server said they’d just gotten engaged. My sister and I contemplated getting engaged right then, for the champagne, but we decided against it.


Bouley made choosing where to go for a fancy lunch easy. There was no second choice. No matter how many friends I needed to see when I visited NY, I’d never get tired of going to Bouley. RIP, David.

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That is young. So sad. I had a couple restaurant week lunches there back in the day. Always special.

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