Quick NYC Lunches - Bouchon Bakery at the Shops at Columbus Circle

One super challenge living in or visiting New York City is where to grab lunch. The dilemma? Too many restaurants to choose from. Thousands!

Thomas Keller, the famed chef and restaurant owner of The French Laundry offers his solution at The Shops At Columbus Circle - 59th Street and Broadway with Bouchon Bakery located on the 3rd floor in the Time-Warner Center. Great location for a a bite while shopping or before going to Jazz at Lincoln Center located in the building or anything playing up at Lincoln Center for that matter.

Hotel Note: And right in the same building is the exceptional Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

The French Laundry
Located in Yountville, California - in the Napa Valley Region - I first experienced his off-shoot, Bouchon Bistro, when I won a trip to Napa and part of the prize was a gift card to the restaurant with $200 on it. My brother John and I had drinks, appetizers, entées and dessert and we still had money leftover. Here's a link to the Napa sweepstakes win.

Hotel Note: A great suggestion for accommodations when visiting Yountville is Bardessono!

Bouchon in Bistro in Yountville.

So, recently I decided to cash in on the rest of that gift card and had lunch at Bouchon Bakery here in the city.

It is a rather odd layout/set-up for a restaurant. They are basically located in the center hallway on the 3rd floor of this upscale mall overlooking 59th St as it stretches east along side Central Park South. Great views if you're facing in that direction. With no walls, only half partitions defining the space, it feels a bit unsettling. Rather than an established restaurant, it feels like a temporary pop-up.

My favorite part of the lunch were the rolls brought to the table. Bouchon menu.

First up, my dining partner and I chose to share the country style paté with cornichons and a watercress salad with radish. The paté was very subtle in flavor and the garlicky croutons a bit on the overly crunchy side and the dijon mustard was missing. But we ate everything on the plate...so that says something. We decided on sandwiches. A roasted squash sandwich and a pastrami.

Thick slices of roasted squash pressed with fiji apple, arugula and melted brie (although, unbeknownst to us, this serving was switched out with mozzarella) grilled on sourdough bread was an ooey, gooey handful. It sounds better than it tasted. I think I'll try a version of this at home and tweak the recipe.

As you can see, the pastrami sandwich with gruyere cheese, sauerkraut served with a beer mustard on a pretzel viennoise wasn't the prettiest boy at the prom. I honestly couldn't taste the sauerkraut nor the mustard but there wasn't anything left on my plate.

Too full for dessert (I know, I know - it's a bakery) we chose to walk off the lunch as opposed to taking the subway. Bouchon is a very practical solution to a quick bite to eat in this part of town, although it's not cheap, and I'm actually glad the meal was on the house.

Thank you Visit Napa Valley for this treat!

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