Friday, May 8

Wine and Dine New York: Payard + Union Prime

Thomas Burak with an amazing assortment of birthday goodies - yum!

I am still reeling from my trip to New York. A good portion of my time revolved around birthday cakes, food, friends and lots wine—all of which are just fine by me.

Payard Patisserie & Bistro, an Upper East Side institution, was a recurring theme over the weekend. Their Louvre Cake, a chocolate mousse, hazelnut mousse, hazelnut dacquoise and hazelnut wafer concoction, made its way onto the tray of birthday desserts Thursday night. Then on Saturday I met up with James Andrew and we wined and dined our way across the city. First for lunch at Payard, followed by dinner at Union Prime.

This was my first time to dine at Payard and I was not disappointed. Once you enter you find yourself in a fabulous French pastry shop filled with petits fours, fruit tarts and ruffled cakes. Once you move toward the bistro, the atmosphere feels very much like a turn-of-the-century grand cafe, complete with banquettes and high ceilings. The food was beyond delicious and I was equally impressed with the beautiful presentation.

I started with their chilled green asparagus soup with croutons and thyme cream (amazing), but could have easily devoured James' twice baked upside down cheese souffle with light Parmesan cream sauce and white truffle oil (unbelievable).

One might think that I would tire of seafood now that I live in Scotland, but the truth is I just can't get enough, especially scallops. Just look at these beautiful little seared sea scallops with baby bok choy. Lunch was followed by a melange of Payard's amazing desserts. By the end I felt as though I was in a sugar coma!

After a long walk and a good nap my husband and I meet James and his partner Scott McBee for dinner at Union Prime. Carleton Varney designed the new steak and sushi house for restaurateur Andrew Silverman. Inspired by the grande dame Dorothy Draper, the interior boast all the hallmarks of Draper’s historic work, including scrolling cartouches (designs that resemble the plasterwork Mrs. Draper famously used in New York's Hampshire House and the Greenbrier Hotel) and the blooming “Princess Grace” rose motif that has been magnified to grandiose proportions.

Being that we are all good friends, we decided that a sampling of appetizers would be the best way to try a little of everything. We started with raw oysters, a light fry of calamari with artichokes with fennel aioli (to die for), and yellowfin tuna tartare. For the main entrée I opted for pan seared jumbo sea scallops with cauliflower, apple puree and wild mushrooms –I know, I know, but the Seville orange and miso glazed Chilean sea bass with napa cabbage and sticky rice wasn’t available. And, the scallops were so succulent. Everything was cooked to perfection!

It was a fabulously fun evening, complete with outstanding service. Union Prime’s excellent sommelier, Doreen was most friendly and selected several nice bottles of wine for the table. If you love great food and the Dorothy Draper style then you must visit Union Prime. It was the perfect end to a perfect trip.

I have most enjoyed reading everyone's recount of last week including; Michelle Adams, James Andrew, Heather Clawson, Michael Devine, Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo, Tobi Fairley, Eddie Ross, Patricia van Essche, Vicente Wolf.

Payard 1032 Lexington Ave.; 212-717-5252

Union Prime
9 E. 16th St. (between 5th Ave. and Union Square West); 212-675-4700


Plush Palate said...

Sounds like a whirlwind of a trip...the best kind :) NYC is the best! Will be sure to check out some of the restaurants you mentioned next time I am there.

Kwana said...

Looks like you had a wonderful NY week. Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us.

Molly Jean said...


Michelle said...

Yummm...scallops...I wouldn't have thought they would have been so yummy in a steak place. A pretty nice steak joint!!!

ALL THE BEST said...

Michelle they were sooo good! It's actually a steak and sushi house, everything was amazing. Plus, I don't eat meat. ;-)

Karena said...

Ronda OMG those scallops! What a fun party! Thank you so much for sharing your adventures!

Anne said...

Another cute dress! Trina Turk, no?

Jay said...

Yum, must try Union Prime! Thanks Ronda.

Jackie Von Tobel said...

Sounds like a blast! I'm going to NY next week for the Surtex show. Wish it had been last week, I would have crashed your party... Thanks for sharing the festivities so we can live vicariously!

Brillante Home Decor said...

So great to know new places in New York, one of my favourite cities, where I could live happily ever after (besides it will be so much closer to Milan).
I enjoyed your trip to New York and it was so full of events that now you may need a holiday!

Julie said...

That sounds fantastic. Payard is one of my favorite places in NYC. Every now and then in the summer my friends and I meet there for a good lunch. Or actually, that was before my little one. Now I'm too tired to go and walk in the City. I'm glad you had a great time. You look great too.

ALL THE BEST said...

Everything was soooo good!!! It was a great few days!

Yes Anne, it's a Trina Turk dress. LOVE her dresses!!

sophiedahydesigns said...

We never go to New York without eating lunch at Payard. His 3 course lunch is always fabulous! I usually pick one of his amazing pastries for dessert